(Photo Credit: Michael Dwyer/AP Photo)

By: Andrew Bluestein | Follow Me On X (Formerly Twitter) @adbblue

Before training camp, the Boston Bruins signed Danton Heinen to a Professional Tryout Contract. It was uncertain if he would even make the team. 

After a strong preseason, Heinen earned a roster spot. It took the team a couple of weeks to ink the forward to his second stint with the Bruins, as they had to comply with the league’s salary cap. 

Initially, Heinen was slotted in on the fourth line, but after some injuries throughout the season, the forward moved up in the lineup. He has taken advantage of the opportunities and has been an effective role player. In 18 games, Heinen has recorded four goals and five assists for nine points. But the former Bruins fourth-round pick has had a more significant impact outside of point production. 

He averages 13:16 a game and is one of Boston’s best defensive forwards. He is currently a +7 on the season and plays a crucial part in matching up with opponents. Heinen plays a sound game in the defensive zone. Thus far, he’s recorded 14 blocked shots and has nine takeaways. Furthermore, he has been solid at turning defense into offense. 

Head coach Jim Montgomery has noticed Heinen’s solid play and praised him after a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, saying, “he’s doing a lot of good things defensively.” He has also developed his penalty killing, averaging 0:57 shorthanded time on ice per game. He isn’t one of the Bruin’s primary penalty-killers, but he steps up when needed. 

Something else that has made Heinen valuable this season is his ability to have good chemistry with anyone. As previously mentioned, he’s moved around the lineup a good amount but has still been productive in his role, no matter who he’s on the ice with. He’s not the most skilled player on the ice by any means, but he has really good hockey sense and positioning, making him a forward who can step into any role if needed. 

The Langley, British Columbia native has arguably been Boston’s best depth player this season. He plays a large part in the team’s bottom six forwards. He’s also solid at stepping in to take face-offs when he’s had to, with a 57.1% success rate. It’s always important to have wingers who can take draws, especially in the defensive zone, and Heinen provides that. 

Another thing Heinen has played a key part in for the Bruins this season is the breakout game. He’s done a stellar job at starting breakouts through the neutral zone and generating chances off the rush. He has also been one of the better five-on-five players for the team, with all nine of his points coming at even strength. For only being a $775,000 cap hit, Heinen has been worth far more than his contract and has undoubtedly exceeded expectations so far.