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Analytics Profile: Danton Heinen

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From Denver to Boston

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

This is the ninth of sixteen player profiles. If you missed the introduction, you can find that here. Special thank you to Corsica, Evolving Wild, Micah Black McCurdy, for the data and visualizations

Shot Creation : C+

3 year WAR/82 : 0.05

3 year RAPM Z-Score : 0.11

Heinen, a late bloomer, had an exceptional 2017-18 season, playing a key role on the third line. During the winter months, when the Bruins couldn’t seem to lose, Heinen helped lead what was probably the most effective third line in hockey. He has shown the ability to outshoot opponents with a relative CF% of 1.76 so far in his career.

However, he’s only slightly above average in terms of shot creation. The regularize adjusted plus-minus finds him to be about a tenth of a standard deviation above average, while his wins above replacement from shot rates is close to replacement level. The Bruins average about a half of a shot more per hour with him on the ice at 5v5 than without, which is a small, but positive impact.

Shot Suppression : B

3 year WAR/82 : 0.13

3 year RAPM Z-Score : 0.53

Heinen’s ability to outshoot teams largely comes from his ability to prevent shots. He’s had over twice the number of wins above replacement from shot suppression than shot creation. His regularized adjusted plus-minus is also much better here.

Heinen ranks 3rd among Bruins forwards with at least 1,000 5v5 minutes in relative to teammate corsi-against per hour, behind Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron. Heinen’s teammates give up a little over three shot attempts less per hour with him than without him, which is a fairly large impact.

Offensive Shot Quality : C

3 year WAR/82 : 0.07

Heinen seems to fall around average when it comes to his offensive shot quality. Perry’s WAR model finds him to be above replacement, even more than his shot creation, but something seems off above calling him above average in this regard.

The Bruins’ unblocked shooting percentage is expected to drop 0.24% with Heinen on the ice. The results also line up fairly well with the expected shooting percentage, as the Bruins unblocked shooting percentage has dropped 0.07% with Heinen on the ice.

Unfortunately, we don’t have much passing data on Heinen. Only 251 minutes has been tracked. However, in those results, it doesn’t look like Heinen’s passing abilities would help boost his on-ice shooting percentage as he is 30th percentile in dangerous shot assists per hour, and 19th percentile in the percentage of on-ice shots he contributes to. These numbers seem dramatically low due to the sample size, but we’d expect to see higher results if, in fact, he has the playmaking skills to positively effect on-ice shooting percentage.

Defensive Shot Quality : A+

3 year WAR/82 : 0.81

By far, the biggest strength of Heinen’s is his defensive shot quality. He’s averaged almost a win per eighty-two games over his first season and change. That means, if he was replacement level in every other aspect of the game, he’d still be worth close to three million.

When Heinen has been on the ice, Bruins goaltenders were expected to see a boost in their unblocked save percentage by 1%. That is a tremendous impact. Although that hasn’t been the case for Heinen, the Bruins unblocked save percentage has still been 0.85% higher when Heinen is on the ice, which is fantastic.

Author’s Comments

Heinen has had a large impact on the Bruins’ ability to outscore opponents so far in his career. The Bruins’ goals-for percentage increases 5.32 points with him on the ice. This is entirely due to the fact the Bruins give up 0.40 goals less per hour with him on the ice at 5v5.

Heinen has had practically no impact on the rate at which the Bruins have scored goals, but through his ability to both suppress shots, and prevent high-quality ones, Heinen shuts down opponents. It is unusual to view a winger as a shutdown, defensive forward, but that seems to be what Heinen is, at least statistically speaking.

So far in his short career, it appears as though Heinen can produce at a middle-six rate with large defensive upside. Given that Heinen will probably never crack the top six behind Marchand and DeBrusk, this is exactly the third line left winger they need.