Bruins prospect Danton Heinen had an under-the-radar good training camp over the last few months, so it’s perhaps not a surprise the 23-year-old is back with the big club after being one of the last cuts in camp.
It’s certainly got more to do with the Bruins being down a few forwards with Patrice Bergeron, David Backes and Noel Acciari all currently injured, and perhaps also somewhat connected to Anders Bjork and Jake DeBrusk stumbling in the second game of their NHL careers. The former Denver University standout will slot into the B’s lineup on Wednesday night in Colorado along with Tim Schaller and Sean Kuraly to add a little more offensive pop to Boston’s bottom-6 forwards.
Clearly Heinen will be hoping to make more of an impact this time around after going scoreless in eight NHL games early last season, and looking pretty much invisible through the whole stretch. It’s clear now that he wasn’t ready for prime time, and didn’t have much self-assuredness when it came to his bread and butter, creating plays in the offensive zone.
Being one of the first call-ups for the B’s this season should be a nice confidence booster after he notched an assist in his one game with Providence this season.
“I’m pretty excited and I want to do whatever I can help,” said Heinen. “I thought I started well and I ended pretty well [in training camp], but maybe I had a little lull in the middle there. I felt like leaving they gave me some pretty good feedback, and I had a good feeling about that.
“I’m just going to be assertive and try to fill any role that they want me to fill. That’s my goal. Just try to make North/South plays and not get too cute and turn pucks over. If that’s what they want me to do then I’ll try to do it.”
Bruce Cassidy said he’d have no hesitancy going to Heinen after he showed greater confidence with the puck in his second NHL camp, and truth be told the winger showed something as a point-per-game player with nine goals and 18 points in 17 games during Providence’s playoff run last spring.
“Danton had a really good training camp. We liked what we saw out of the kids ahead of him in DeBrusk and Bjork, and Kuraly was a little bit of a different animal,” said Cassidy. “We’re not afraid to use him. Let’s put it that way. I thought he was really good in training camp for the most part.
“We want to let guys relax and play, but by the same token this is a business, we have a standard, we didn’t play to it [on Monday] and we’re trying to get back to that [in Colorado]. If creating competition is going to be what makes it better, then we’re happy to look at that.”
The ball is now in Heinen’s court to seize the chance being given by the Bruins to show that he’s much better prepared for his NHL audition this time around than he was at just about the same time last year.