Danton Heinen has often found himself the target of a section of the Boston Bruins fan base that insists upon trading him away or demoting him to the AHL. Fact is, he’s massively underrated.
Scratch beneath the surface of Danton Heinen and his ‘average’ numbers for the Boston Bruins and you’ll find there’s far more to the player than a decidedly average record when it comes to his points production.
Fact is many fans saw his points production decline this season and nothing more. The fact that he went from being a near 50-point guy the previous year to one that barely topped 30 points this year is all they need to see before calling for him to be traded.
Now, Danton Heinen has done himself no favours among this section of the fan base by opting for salary arbitration, however it is his right as an NHL player. Unfortunately for the fans that begrudge him his role in the Boston Bruins line-up, he has the right to have his salary negotiations sorted by an independent, who may well look beyond just those points totals.
You see, Danton Heinen is a two-way player, he plays a game focused on the fore-check, on strong back-checking and all round responsible play. He isn’t ever going to be the guy that cracks a game open with a deft piece of skill in the offensive zone. He is however the guy that is going to scrap it out in the corners, he too is the guy that’d be willing to drop and block a shot when it counts.
Last regular season, his ratio of takeaways to giveaways at 1.34 ranked behind just four regular players; Joakim Nordstrom, Jake DeBrusk, Patrice Bergeron and by far and away the most impressive, Noel Acciari. Given two of those names, more often that not, appeared on the fourth line and thus would’ve been sheltered, he ranks in very fine company.
Moreso than that, he also helps the team considerably maintaining the puck, with a Corsi For of 52.94% in the regular season. This actually ranks him quite far down the line-up, but that easily happens with the likes of Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak in the top-six.
Perhaps the most underrated aspect of Danton Heinen in general is his ability to slot in wherever the Boston Bruins need him in the line-up. He has to have played with the most inconsistent group of linemates going in the regular season.
So much so, that when he finally had time to gel with a group, they went on to be easily the best third line in the whole Stanley Cup Playoffs.
You need look no further than see his Corsi For jumps almost two percent higher to 54.45% when regularly paired with Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson in the playoffs. When given the chance to actually build some chemistry, suddenly his performance level is that much higher.
That trio looked so impressive because Johansson and Coyle had Danton Heinen doing the dirty work for them. He’d be retrieving pucks and dishing it to them; they’d just need to finish things up.
All in all, some fans find it hard to see beyond pure points production, but just the few simple statistics and reasoning listed state facts; Danton Heinen goes heavily underrated – he’s a versatile, hard-working energy guy; exactly the sort of player you want to retain in your line-up.
The Boston Bruins are lucky to have him and should do their absolute best to hold on to him. Trading him away or not making a deal because there’s a $200,000 margin of difference between the two sides would be incredibly foolish and shouldn’t be considered.