The Bruins continue to explore any and all options when it comes to filling out their forward group, and on Tuesday that included an interesting return.
Bruins begin captains' practices, sign Heinen to PTO
Boston announced that it has signed winger Danton Heinen to a professional tryout agreement.
Heinen, 28, was originally a fourth-round pick of the Bruins in 2014 and spent parts of four seasons with them from 2016-20. He recorded a career-high 47 points in 2017-18 and played on the third line during the 2019 run to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Bruins traded Heinen to the Ducks at the 2020 trade deadline for Nick Ritchie. Heinen spent the 2020-21 season in Anaheim as well before then joining the Penguins as a free agent in the summer of 2021.
Heinen scored a career-high 18 goals in 2021-22 with Pittsburgh, but then saw his production dip to eight goals and 14 assists in 65 games this past season. He continued to put up solid advanced stats at 5-on-5, though, something he has done pretty consistently throughout his career. The Penguins gave up 27 scoring chances per 60 minutes when he was on the ice, which was the second-best mark among Pittsburgh forwards last season.
He went through this summer unsigned as a free agent. The Bruins already brought in one veteran forward on a PTO in Alex Chiasson, and now bring in Heinen as well.
Heinen joins a crowded competition for bottom-six jobs that also includes returnees like Trent Frederic, A.J. Greer and Jakub Lauko; newcomers Morgan Geekie, Milan Lucic, Jesper Boqvist and Patrick Brown; and youngsters like Georgii Merkulov, Marc McLaughlin, Johnny Beecher and John Farinacci.
Should Heinen end up winning a job on the NHL roster, the Bruins would need to sign him to an actual NHL contract.
Heinen played two seasons under Jim Montgomery at the University of Denver from 2014-16, so there's an obvious connection to the Bruins' head coach there.