Bruins back bring forward Danton Heinen on PTO deal


In 220 career games with the Bruins, Heinen scored 34 goals and posted 103 points.

Boston Bruins center Danton Heinen (43) plays against the Detroit Red Wings in the first period of an NHL hockey game Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, in Detroit.
Danton Heinen previously played with the Bruins from 2016-20. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

The Bruins are bringing back an old friend as Don Sweeney continues to stockpile depth at the forward position.

Boston announced Tuesday afternoon that it signed former Bruin Danton Heinen to a professional tryout contract.

The 28-year-old Heinen was originally drafted by Boston in 2014 and spent parts of four seasons with the Bruins from 2016-20. In 220 career games with the Bruins, Heinen scored 34 goals and posted 103 points, serving as a versatile forward across the lineup.

Boston eventually traded Heinen to the Ducks at the 2020 trade deadline for Nick Ritchie. After another season in Anaheim, Heinen spent two years with the Penguins, scoring a career-high 18 goals in 2021-22 in Pittsburgh before seeing his numbers dip to 22 points over 65 games in 2022-23.

Even with his lackluster showing last season, the Bruins will try to rekindle some of Heinen’s production with his original club.

Heinen’s best season (47 points in 77 games) came with the Bruins during the 2017-18 season, and he was a key cog on a third line next to Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson during Boston’s 2019 Cup run.

Along with his familiarity in Boston, Heinen has plenty of ties to Bruins bench boss Jim Montgomery, as he played for him at the University of Denver from 2014-16.

Heinen was primarily deployed as a fourth-line asset last season in Pittsburgh but still put up solid numbers at 5v5 play as a steady two-way contributor, which is par for the course for his entire career.

His ability to play both left wing and right wing could open up more opportunities as Montgomery and his staff try to roll out the best possible bottom-six personnel this season.

The Bruins’ decision to bring in yet another PTO after signing veteran forward Alex Chiasson to a similar contract last month falls in line with Boston’s strategy of leaving no stone unturned for forward depth. 

Even though players like Milan Lucic, Morgan Geekie, and Trent Frederic seem to be penciled in for starting spots somewhere further down the depth chart, the Bruins still have a few more vacancies available on both the third and fourth lines. 

Along with Heinen and Chiasson, the Bruins also have other free-agent pickups in Jesper Boqvist and Patrick Brown, returning wingers in A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko, and younger players trying to crack the roster like Georgii Merkulov, Marc McLaughlin, Johnny Beecher and John Farinacci.