Danton Heinen signs fair two-year contract extension with Bruins

Matt Kalman
July 09, 2019 - 11:29 pm

On the day the date his arbitration was set for August 3, Danton Heinen avoided arbitration altogether.

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The 24-year-old restricted free agent forward, who had 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists) in 77 regular season games last season, and eight points (two goals, six assists) in 24 games during the Bruins’ run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, signed a two-year extension with an average annual value of $2.8 million on Tuesday night.

Let’s face it, if he makes more plays like the one he made on Charlie Coyle’s overtime goal in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Second Round against Columbus in the years ahead, Heinen will be well worth it.

The Bruins have about $7-8 million in cap space remaining, according to CapFriendly.com, with RFAs Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo left to sign.

The two-year term is a far cry from the one-year, $1 million bet San Jose forward Kevin Labanc has placed on himself following a 56-point third season in the NHL. But Heinen traded some term for a little higher AAV with the Bruins' pecking order and salary structure, and he'll again be a RFA with arbitration rights again in the summer of 2021.

He’s a proverbial bargain when you compare him to what Toronto did with its two young RFA wings, Andreas Johnsson (four years, $3.4 million AAV) and Kasperi Kapanen (three years, $3.2 million). Heinen has 81 points in 154 NHL games the past two years; Johnsson has 46 points in 82 games, and Kapanen has 53 points in 116 games over that same span.

Heinen’s point total dropped by 13 from his rookie season to last season, but he played well for stretches on the first line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron, and then on the third line in the playoffs with Coyle and Marcus Johansson. He averaged 1:22 of power-play ice time per game, so clearly he needs to pick up his production, but the Bruins have always been enamored with his intelligence and his strong two-way play.

All things considered this was a safe deal for both sides that doesn’t strangle too much of the Bruins’ cap space. Obviously the biggest hindrance right now on Boston’s payroll is David Backes’ $6 million cap hit for this season and next. It would appear GM Don Sweeney still has to clear space in order to get McAvoy and Carlo signed.

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