Danton Heinen is one of the most scrutinized players by the Bruins fanbase, trailing maybe only Tuukka Rask. Maybe because he doesn't score as much as one fan might want, or fight as much as somebody else would like, or maybe Donnie from Weymouth just doesn't like his haircut on the particular evening that Donnie from Weymouth is looking for a reason to complain about Danton Heinen. Like him or not, Danton Heinen brings quite a bit of value to the Boston Bruins.
Role players exist
While it would be great to have 18 skaters on the ice who all have elite goal scoring abilities, that's not exactly possible. An NHL team is made up of a group of players who are put together to succeed as a team. Every player brings something to help the team. Every player is a role player essentially. Some have roles of putting the puck in the net, some have roles that include fighting, and bringing a physical presence, and some have roles that require them to get in the dirty areas, grind, and keep the play alive. Danton Heinen is one of those guys. It plays into the thought that Heinen is a really good two way forward as he's does it in both the offensive and defensive zone. Danton Heinen is constantly making plays for the Bruins, they just don't always result in a goal or assist for him on the scorecard. Whether it be chasing down a puck in the dirty area, or making a slick pass to keep a defender from taking the puck out of the Bruins offensive zone, Heinen is doing his thing, and efficiently executing his role on the ice as a member of the Boston Bruins.
Danton Heinen has goal scoring ability. In two years at the University of Denver, Heinen put up 36 goals in 81 games. That's nearly a goal every other game. A goal every other game in the NHL would quite possibly lead to an All Star appearance for any player. Not that the NCAA is the NHL, but he's proven to be able to get the puck in the net at high levels of play. Perhaps he just hasn't reached that point in his NHL career yet. Regardless, he's helping other players on the team be in good positions to score. Perhaps the fact that Heinen has fallen victim to the revolving carousel of wings in Boston in the last three years could be an issue for him as well. If the Bruins can manage to find some consistency from their wingers in the scoring column, that could help jump start Heinen as a goal scorer as well as a playmaker as it could help find him consistent line mates.
The Boston Bruins have had elite special teams play for a few years running now. Whether it be power play goals, killing penalties or special teams, he's playing a huge part in being successful in the NHL. Danton Heinen is one of the Bruins best penalty killers. Going back to the fact that he likes to get into the dirty areas to retrieve the puck. That's a huge part of killing a penalty. His speed allows him to chase the puck and poke it, or clear it out of the defensive zone. If Heinen can be a big part in keeping the Bruins a top tier special teams team, that alone would make him valuable enough for a roster spot.
His impact is undeniable
Regardless of whether or not he meets everybody's expectations, Danton Heinen is a valuable player that can help put a team over the hump and into Cup contention. He brings something to the team that not just any player can, and the scary part is that he's only 24 years old and can only go up from here. Once Heinen starts hitting the back of the net, he'll be a nitty gritty fan favorite for whatever fanbase he's doing it for. Hopefully, its for the Bruins.