Yesterday, the Boston Bruins announced that they signed forward Danton Heinen to a 2-year extension worth $2.8-million annually.
This contract is a good deal for both sides as Heinen gets to improve and isn’t locked in long term, while the Bruins get a solid 2 way forward who can still put up solid numbers with talent around him. They also avoid the arbitration hearing that was set for some time in August. Some might say that he wasn’t good in the playoffs and shouldn’t have given him this contract but with guys like Carl Haglin, Ryan Reaves, Marcus Foligno, Riley Nash and Erik Haula all making around the same money I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.
Heinen was the Bruins leader in 5v5 GF% during the playoffs at 68% even though he only had 8 points in the playoffs he was a +7 and proved he was a positive for the team. During the season Heinen tallied 11 goals and 23 assists and it is a drop off from his solid rookie year where he managed to put up 47 points. While the production might’ve dropped this past year, he was shuffled throughout the lineup when there was injury and during this time he spent a lot of time with JFK and Ryan Donato on the third line. When the Bruins can get some talent around Heinen like when they put him up on the first line, they outscored opponents 11-4 and outshot them by 20+. So, while it may seem on the surface like he didn’t do anything, it’s far from it and it’ll be good in house depth that the Bruins desperately needed last year.
With Heinen signed to 2.8 AAV that leaves just about $7.5 million in cap space remaining and that isn’t where the Bruins want to be with Carlo and McAvoy still without contracts. So it looks like the Bruins are going to have to make a trade to free up cap space. Considering they don’t want to touch Krejci and Krug just for pure cap relief that leaves us with about 3 options to free up the necessary space for these guys.
1. David Backes
This ones obvious because he is on a ridiculous contract worth $6 million and is now a fourth line/scratched guy. Backes is no longer the guy we knew in St. Louis and sure he had an alright first few here but his time has come and this should be the first contract to go if they can get rid of it. The issue is nobody wants to take this insane contract unless they are getting decent compensation from it and that could mean a pick or a prospect has to be given up for them to make the trade happen.
2. Kevan Miller
I hate to say it, but yes, they could trade Kevan Miller with his contract worth $2.5 million—which isn’t really bad for him. But since he gets hurt often and the B’s have some young guys on the blue line who could start making the climb into the roster this makes Miller and his contract expendable. Trading Miller could be relatively easy considering he’s a big defenseman who bullies people in front of the net but his injury history should concern teams and might keep teams from taking him. Miller has been a stand-up defenseman for the B’s and if he is traded he will be missed.
3. John Moore
This one is a little bit more complicated since they signed him last year to a contract worth $2.75 million and he seemed to fit a role as either last defenseman in or as the 7th defenseman. Moore could be losing his job though to the younger guys who are trying to make the climb into Boston. Also, Moore is gonna be recovering from an injury he played through during the Stanley Cup Finals and he could miss the beginning month of the season. If Sweeney and company like what they see from the younger guys and feel confident in them then Moore becomes a guy who could be on the chopping block. The only issue about trading him or Miller is we saw how deep the Bruins had to go into their depth last year with the injuries and of these injuries happen again the Bruins could struggle to tread water without veteran defenseman.
Clearing cap space is an immediate need for the Bruins to make room for their 2 guys, Carlo and McAvoy, so anyway to make that happen and get these contracts signed I’m all in for. I’m looking forward to see what the Bruins will do in the coming weeks to try and get these guys signed.