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2018-19 Player Ratings: Danton Heinen did all the little things right, but his skillset will ensure he’ll be controversial for years to come.

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A player best served in his own end was a fantastic example of all the little things being done right but the one big thing eluding him.

2019 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Six Photo by Brian Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images

Danton Heinen missed his calling as a Marcus Kruger-type center. I mean sure, he’s listed as one, but do you think the B’s will ever play him like one? Failing that, maybe as a defensemen, because few players were as defensively responsible...and offensively challenged, as Danton Heinen was in 2018-19.

Danton Heinen’s skillset is that of the 200-foot player with plenty of low-key scrappiness that makes him hard to knock off the puck, and if you do catch him on the corners or on the boards, he’s more than willing to take a hit to extend the play.

A good litmus test for anyone who wants to find out who in their friend group watches the games for the hockey and who watches to satisfy their Id is someone who can point out just how good he is at making life difficult for opposing defenses and offenses by just being a perpetually difficult player to pin down and having a knack for drawing more than one player to him while doing so, somehow creating space for other players simply by existing on the ice. It’s also good way to also find the person to dunk on repeatedly whenever they open their craw, coincidentally enough!

But one criticism of Danton Heinen that is, unfortunately quite true, does have something to do with his offensive touch and it’s...He’s not great at offense. He had 11 goals this year, which is down from the 16 he scored last year, and he wasn’t really much of an offensive threat most of the time.

My best guess for most of it is that Heinen’s game really does like forcing other players to come stop him, so maybe given that he forces players to come to him, he unintentionally screws himself out of golden chances by having bodies in front of him, making him have to pass or just take a pretty bad shot. And given the kind of luminary talent he was saddled with on the third line, it would come to nobody’s surprise he might’ve been struggling a bit in spite of doing a lot of the good things right.

Because when he’s got open ice? He’s shown he can score! I’ve seen him do it! He’s even scored in a shootout!

He can also get a good assist here and there if you give him the time!

It’s just...he so rarely had that because his strengths weren’t geared towards giving him that open ice unless the perfect confluence of events occurred. The rest of the time he’d whiff on a golden chance, opt to pass, or have his shot blocked and if you’re in the controversial camp of “goals are good, actually”, you’d more than hate this guy for being in such an offensive dry spell even if he could rack up assists like few others, and given the state of the third line for most of the season, how could you be blamed for doing otherwise?

Now that he’s a Bruin for at least the next couple years, we’ll all have to get used to his brand of defense-first hockey, even if it makes us want to tear our hair out at points. It’ll be better for the team if they do.

In The Playoffs:

Heinen was just Heinen during the postseason, which meant nobody was going to expect him to score much (though he did score well when he did), and was expected to be more of a defensive presence, and to his credit on the new third line with Charlie Coyle he sincerely looked like a player who could take over shifts, but it wasn’t enough in the end.

Aggregate Grade: 7.2/10

Sky’s Grade: 7/10

Dan’s Grade: 7/10

Jake’s Grade: 7/10

Adam’s Grade: 8/10

Shawn’s Grade: 7/10

He was unquestionably good. Just a good defense first player. But that’s about as much as we can expect going forward.

Therefor he should be playing with someone whose an offensive genius but a disaster in their own end to counterbalance it.

Fancystats and Visuals:

Evolving-Hockey.com