Bruins sign Danton Heinen to a 1-year contract


“He’s making a lot of plays, a lot of smart plays.”

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 is back with the Bruins on a standard NHL contract. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

After spending close to two months on a professional tryout (PTO) deal, Danton Heinen has finally put pen to paper on a new contract with the Bruins.

Boston announced on Monday just a few hours ahead of puck drop against the Panthers that Heinen had signed a one-year deal for the remainder of the 2023-24 season with an NHL cap hit of $775,000.

The 28-year-old forward has played the waiting game as Boston shifted its roster to eventually accommodate his affordable deal. After playing in three preseason games with Boston, Heinen has not been able to play in a game with his contract status in limbo.

He remained with the team and has been a regular participant in practices as he awaited more concrete news.

After wrapping up Monday’s morning skate, Heinen was given the nod to lead the post-practice stretch and received plenty of stick taps from his teammates — signaling that a new deal was in the pipeline.

“I mean, there’s a lot of moving parts and a lot up in the air,” Heinen said of his status on Monday morning. “But they’ve been great with communicating with me and the staff working with me and trainers and stuff like that to keep me ready. So that’s just my mindset the whole time is to be ready.”

With Heinen now signed to the NHL roster, he is expected to make his season debut in Boston’s home game against Florida on Monday night.

This marks Heinen’s second go-around in Boston. In 220 career games with the Bruins, Heinen scored 34 goals and posted 103 points, serving as a versatile forward across the lineup from 2016-20.

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.

Whether it be serving as Boston’s 13th forward or a two-way skater capable of skating on both the third or fourth line, Heinen should be able to bring plenty of value to Boston’s roster — especially given his market-friendly deal.

“I’ve been really impressed — because when we do practice and there’s opportunities for him to make plays or penalty kill, he’s been very noticeable,” Jim Montgomery said of Heinen’s performances during practice. “ He’s making a lot of plays, a lot of smart plays. He’s got really soft hands.

“He can make a lot of plays. So doesn’t matter who he’s gone with. It seems like he has more energy, I think, than other people. … His practices are his games right now.”