Why haven’t the Boston Bruins signed winger Danton Heinen yet?
The Bruins improved to 3-0-0 with a 3-1 win over the Sharks on Thursday night in San Jose, and for a third straight game, Heinen watched from above as a healthy scratch. The fact that he’s with the team on their four-game road trip, though, is a good sign that he’ll be signed soon.
“In this cap world, this isn’t uncommon,” an NHL executive source pointed out to Boston Hockey Now on Friday morning. “The fact he’s on the trip and still practicing with them is a pretty good indication a signing is coming, I’d think. Like almost every team, though, the Bruins need to clear cap space to make a move like that.”
Per our friends at PuckPedia, the Boston Bruins currently have $550,330 in salary cap space with 22 of 23 roster slots filled.
The Bruins signed Heinen to a professional tryout on September 5, and when training camp concluded on October 8, the 28-year-old forward – who was drafted by the Boston Bruins in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft – was still practicing with the team. Many, including Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney, believed that the 6-foot-1, 188-pound winger had done enough to stick around and make the roster.
“We’re still weighing our options as it relates to potentially signing Danton [Heinen]. And he knows he’s been here in a PTO, but he’s also made the decision difficult. We’re going to take that right down on the wire when we make our final roster decisions,” Sweeney said at Media Day on Oct. 9.
Well, Sweeney and the Bruins couldn’t make that decision because of the salary cap and have now taken it 11 days past the wire. So, will Sweeney and Danton Heinen finally put pen to paper soon?
Obviously, one of the main reasons for that was rookie centers John Beecher and Matt Poitras making the opening night roster. The Bruins can send Beecher down to Providence without waivers at any time, but that doesn’t look like it will happen anytime soon. Meanwhile, Poitras has six more games to prove he belongs or be sent back to his junior team, the Guelph Storm, in the OHL. That also seems unlikely at this point, with Poitras already getting shifts as a second line center.
That means as the source above pointed out, a cap-space clearing move will need to occur. One potential move could be waiving forward Patrick Brown, who is the official extra forward right now, for a second time and hope that another team picks up his $800,000 cap hit. Or Sweeney may clear even more space and pull the trigger on a trade. Could one of the defensemen, Matt Grzelcyk ($3.6 million) or Derek Forbort ($3 million), finally be dealt after spending the offseason mired in NHL trade rumors?
Something will likely give soon and allow Heinen to officially become a Bruin for the second time in his career.