Late last night, the Boston Bruins came to terms with one of their restricted free agents, signing Danton Heinen to a two-year contract through the 2020-21 season. The deal carries an average annual value of $2.8MM and will keep Heinen an RFA at its expiration.
The Bruins have several other restricted free agents to sign including Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo, but Heinen was the only one who was eligible and had filed for salary arbitration. This deal avoids that sometimes messy situation and gives the 24-year old forward a nice bridge contract. In parts of three seasons Heinen has recorded 81 points in 162 games, a pace that actually declined last season when he was able to register just 11 goals and 34 points. In the playoffs the young forward has all but disappeared, scoring just nine points in 33 games.
Still, there is a lot to like in his offensive profile and to get any production out of a fourth-round pick is a win for the Bruins. Though originally selected as a potential center, Heinen has played almost exclusively on the wing in the NHL and projects to stay there for the time being. The former University of Denver standout can be extremely elusive at times in the offensive zone and surprise defenders with his puck skills, but too rarely uses these talents to create and can rely on his linemates. If he can find a little more consistency while playing on this new contract, Heinen can set himself up for a big payday in 2021 when he has just a single year of restricted free agency left.
For the Bruins, even though they knew it was coming this deal does complicate things somewhat. The team now has just $7.4MM in cap space and two huge negotiations with McAvoy and Carlo to come. Since that cap number is assuming a 23-man roster there is some more wiggle room from the players that will be sent down to make room for the pair of young defensemen, but even so the Bruins will be extremely tight to the cap after inking the new deals. That is of course unless they find a way to move David Backes’ $6MM hit, though the market for such a contract is obviously not a huge one.