For today’s edition of Bruins grades, we will be briefly evaluating two players who most forget are even on the roster.
Tim Schaller and Danton Heinen may not be critical pieces on the team, but for better or worse had an impact on the 2017-2018 Bruins.
Player: Tim Schaller
Regular Season Stats: 12 goals, 10 assists, 22 points, -2
Post Season Stats: 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, +3
Schaller may not light up the stat sheet, but he is a pretty darn good fourth liner. The depth forward managed to play all 82 games this year and put up some decent numbers.
12 goals might not seem like a lot, but there are several teams that would kill to get that kind of production from a fourth line center. Center depth is hard to find in the NHL these days, so for all intents and purposes, Schaller did exactly what the Bruins asked of him. He didn’t have a crazy breakout year or anything, but he made the rest of the league respect the Bruins even when the top three lines weren’t on the ice.
Unfortunately for Boston, the New England native won’t be returning to the Bruins next year as he signed a two-year $1.9 million dollar contract with the Vancouver Canucks. There is more to be said about Boston letting him walk but I’ll hold off on that for now.
Player: Danton Heinen
Regular Season Stats: 16 goals, 31 assists, 47 points, -2
Post Season Stats: 1 goal, 0 assists, 1 point, -1
The Bruins had a lot of breakout rookies in 2017-2018, but Heinen somehow fell under the radar.
The young center played 77 games in what was technically his second year as a pro and he certainly made the most of it.
He went through a number of cold patches throughout the season like all players do, but when Heinen got hot, he was one of the Bruins best players. This season was very encouraging given that he failed to record a point in the 2016-2017 season despite playing in eight games.
Once Heinen and Ryan Donato had both been established as high-quality players, the Bruins had one of the fiercest center cores in the entire league.
Overall, Heinen had a very underrated season, but he looks to 2018-2019 to break out on to the radar more consistently. With the loss of Schaller, the Bruins will need him more than ever.