The Boston Bruins have not walked away from NHL Trade Deadline day without a move. The Bruins traded forward Danton Heinen to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Nick Ritchie. It was a straight exchange of two wingers.
Twice ahead of the trade deadline, the Bruins made a deal with the Ducks. Why would Boston give up on Heinen, and accept a straight trade for Ritchie? There are several logical explanations behind this move by general manager Don Sweeney.
Both Ritchie and Heinen were selected in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. While Ritchie was picked by the Ducks as the 10th overall player in the first round, the Bruins picked Heinen from the fourth round, 116th overall.
Heinen made his NHL debut in the 2016-17 season, playing only eight games. In the following season, Heinen has exceeded the expectations. In 77 games played, he collected 16 goals and 31 assists for 47 points. In the playoffs, he was able to record only one goal.
Despite not repeating his career year, Heinen was solid in the 2018-19 season, as well. In 77 games, he gathered 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 points. In the playoffs, he formed a formidable third line along Charlie Coyle and Marcus Johansson. Last spring, Heinen had two goals and six assists for eight points.
In the 2019 offseason, the Bruins re-signed him to a two-year contract extension worth $2.8 million per season. However, his inconsistency issues remained during the 2019-20 season. In 58 games, Heinen collected seven goals and 15 assists for 22 points. He had one assist in his last eight starts.
More than just points, the 24-year-old winger guaranteed a quality two-way play on the ice. Nevertheless, that wasn’t the case this season. Heinen’s CF percentage dropped from 52.9 from the past campaign to only 48 this season. His possession metrics were down to his career-low this season.
Don Sweeney on the addition of Nick Ritchie: “It was an area that we felt we needed to address from some interior ice play, size and strength, net-front play, contested puck battles – things that we feel Nick will bring to the table for us.” pic.twitter.com/fSnQV0jyaE
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) February 24, 2020
Despite his poor recent form, Heinen was a solid participant in the Bruins lineup. This trade on behalf of the Bruins is more logical than anything else. Boston brought in a guy who has 46 more hits this season. Ritchie has one more goal scored than Heinen but three points less than him. However, Ritchie has played 17 games less than Heinen.
In other words, the Bruins are getting, presumably, a more productive player at the same age, with more hits, and a salary-cap hit of $1.3 million less. The Bruins will hope that Ritchie can be that big-body presence they sought after, and can complete the third line with Coyle and Anders Bjork.