Countdown to Bruins camp: Danton Heinen


From now until the beginning of training camp, Bruins Insider Joe Haggerty is profiling players who will be on, or have a chance to be on, the 2018-19 Bruins. Today: Danton Heinen.


The 22-year-old Danton Heinen really burst on the Black and Gold scene last year as a rookie. Heinen posted 16 goals and 47 points while consistently playing a top-9 role for the Bruins and began living up to the potential that Boston saw in him while lighting it up at the University of Denver. Heinen represents one of a number of rookie players that will be required to be at least as good in their second season in Boston, with the hope being that he can continue to improve as he gets older, bigger, stronger and more confident in his game.  

What Happened Last Year: Heinen flew under the radar in training camp after falling behind Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork in terms of the NHL hype for them as prospects, but it was Heinen that won a job in training camp and then secured a spot in the lineup very early in the season. For most of the year he formed a tremendously effective third line with Riley Nash and David Backes, and was among the NHL’s leading rookie scorers all season before finishing up with 16 goals and 47 points. Heinen seemed to hit a little bit of a rookie wall late in the season and had some up and down moments in the playoffs, but he showed a creative offensive mind, tenacity on the puck despite not being the biggest guy on the ice and an ability to finish around the net that should just improve with time. Heinen showed all the ingredients last season to be a 20-goal scorer and a top-6 guy in the NHL for a long, long time.  

Questions To Be Answered This Season: The real question to be answered by Heinen this season and beyond is just how good he’s going to become as an NHL player, and how much better he can be than he was last year as a very good rookie. Certainly, Heinen is expected to get bigger and stronger in the puck protection area, and his skills should elevate even higher as his confidence grows knowing that he’s an established NHL player. But consistency and living up to a strong opening NHL campaign are challenges that have foiled a lot of promising NHL careers, and Heinen will need to conquer those kinds of things as a sophomore with the Black and Gold.  

In Their Words: “I don’t know if there’s anything specific [to improve] — just everything. Just try to take another step and obviously try to get stronger, you know, and keep working on skating and speed, you know. It’s a fast league, so I think, yeah, that’s probably the main thing [to improve], is probably my speed.” –Bruins winger Danton Heinen on what he’s looking to get better at in his second full season in the league.   

Overall Outlook: The ceiling for Heinen’s game is high based on his skills, his willingness to work and the flashes of tenacity he showed both on and off the puck. The production was there too with 16 goals and 47 points, so there was a lot to like about Heinen’s game in his first full go-round in the NHL. Now it’s about improving in all areas, pushing his size, speed and strength to its maximum as he enters the prime years of his career, and then staying healthy while working his way into a good spot with the Black and Gold. The good news for Heinen is that he’s capable of playing on the right side where the Bruins aren’t quite so loaded with forward talent, and where the 22-year-old could conceivably win a top-6 job in training camp. With no sniping wingers signed or traded for during the offseason, the B’s are banking on youngsters like Heinen to take another developmental leap in Boston’s youth movement. 


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