Now is the time for Danton Heinen to step up

Share

BOSTON – If Danton Heinen is going to stand up and be counted offensively this season, now would be the time.

The 23-year-old winger nearly had 20 goals and 50 points last season, but has managed just four goals and nine points in 34 games this season while bouncing between lines without finding a permanent home as of yet. Heinen certainly hasn’t hurt the Bruins defensively and is one of the best young two-way players on the roster, and that has kept him in the lineup even when the points weren’t flowing like last season.

But Heinen is going to need to produce eventually if he wants to stay in the Black and Gold lineup, and that’s part of the reason Bruce Cassidy opted to slot him on the right wing with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Heinen knows it’s a plum assignment to play right fiddle to No. 37 and No. 63, so he’s doing whatever he can to take advantage of his sudden situation.

MORE BRUINS

“Maybe there was a little bit more [space to operate playing with them] but I think for me it is trying to get on the fore-check, trying to create space for them because they’re [Bergeron, Brad Marchand] the ones who should have the puck in their hands,” said Heinen. “I’m just trying to get to the net and do things like that.”

It worked out with an assist in Boston’s 5-3 win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday afternoon, and Cassidy is obviously hoping to see even more of that if his confidence can shoot back up.

Heinen was certainly doing the little things that can help spur on the offense, and his coach took notice of that on Saturday.

“I thought he got to the top of the crease, was annoying to their defensemen in front of the net. That’s part of your job on that late to make sure you do your part there, walked off the wall a couple of cycles, got some shots. I liked it,” said Cassidy. “I liked his work ethic. After watching it, we’ll see how the play away from the puck was. They didn’t seem to be in much trouble. I think they had one shift probably they got trapped a little bit, but other than that I thought he did his job well.”

The Bruins were relying on Heinen to perhaps even take a step forward after last season’s promising rookie campaign, but he hasn’t really done that while Jake DeBrusk has done a bit better job of building on his first year in the league. Now he’s getting another chance to turn things around offensively and realize a little more of that potential that he showed last season as a promising first year player that vastly exceeded expectations.

The Bruins need it from somebody as their roster is one top-6 scoring winger short right now, and Heinen is getting his opportunity to show whether he's that guy, or perhaps just a solid third line player at the NHL level. 

The Bruins need Heinen, now is the time and he’s been put in a situation that he really needs to take advantage of if he wants to remain one of Boston’s best and brightest young players. 

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Celtics easily on your device.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

Contact Us