BOSTON - Danton Heinen is back in the fold.
The Bruins came to terms with the versatile winger late Tuesday night on a two-year contract extension, worth an annual cap hit of $2.8 million. Heinen, who turned 24 last week, was a restricted free agent following the 2018-19 season, his second full campaign with the Black & Gold.
"I want to thank everyone who has given me this opportunity to be a part of the organization for two more years," Heinen, who made $925,000 last season, said during a conference call on Thursday afternoon. "I'm just very grateful and excited to be part of it…you look back and see how lucky you are and how grateful you are and then, no, you just get back to work and keep working as hard as you have and just keep on enjoying the game."
Heinen, who was selected by the Bruins in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, was one of 40 players in the NHL to file for arbitration this summer. With a hearing set for August 3 in Toronto, the British Columbia native's goal was to come to an agreement well before that deadline.
"I was confident that we were going to get something done. Obviously, you don't want it to get there," said Heinen, who is back home training for most of the summer. "It's not the nicest process to go through. I was definitely excited to get it done, and I was confident in the negotiations with my agent, and I just kind of trusted him. He's looking out for my best interest, so I trusted what he was doing."
Video: Highlights of Heinen after 2-year extension
Following a season that ended with a loss in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, Heinen realizes that there is plenty for him to improve upon during this abbreviated summer break - mainly in the offensive end, where he believes he can be aggressive with his shot.
"You always want to score more goals," said Heinen, who notched just two goals and six assists in 24 postseason contests. "There's nothing better than scoring…I've always worked on my shot in the summertime and continue to work on it, but I think that's definitely something I'll emphasize, and I'm going to continue to work on.
"I think I also need to get in a mindset where I'm shooting more and am more confident in my shot because [of] different opportunities I might pass up...I believe in my shot, and I believe I can score. I think it's just continuing believing in that and working on it."
After a stellar rookie campaign in 2017-18, during which he tallied 47 points (16 goals, 31 assists) in 77 games to rank fourth on the Bruins in scoring, Heinen went through what can be considered a bit of a sophomore slump. The 6-foot-1, 188-pound left shot once again suited up for 77 regular-season contests but saw his offensive numbers dip to 34 points (11 goals, 23 assists).
"I think as a player you try not to get your head wrapped around too much in numbers," said Heinen. "I just want to be helping the team. For me, as an all-around player, I felt more comfortable round two in my all-around game. Sometimes that's the way it works, situational.
"Every year is different, but I think if you keep on working on the details and trying to improve your all-around game, all that stuff will come. So, that's what I'm focusing on, just keep on getting better and keep on focusing on the little things."
Video: CAR@BOS, Gm2: Heinen converts Bergeron's pretty feed
Despite that slight regression on the stat sheet, Heinen was still a crucial member of the Eastern Conference champions. His versatility - he played both wings and saw significant time with each of Boston's top three lines - and 200-foot dependability made him a staple for coach Bruce Cassidy.
"I see myself as an offensive guy," said Heinen. "At the end of the day, it's kind of whatever's best for the team. You trust the coaching staff and whatever they think is best…I'm kind of playing all over, but it's honestly wherever they want me and whatever they need me to do."
Heinen, playing the off wing, was a fixture alongside Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle on the Bruins' third line during the team's run to the Stanley Cup Final. But the University of Denver alum's most productive stretch may have come in February and March when he filled in for the injured David Pastrnak on Boston's top line with Brad Marchand and Patrice Bergeron.
"I think playing with those guys, it's an honor for sure," said Heinen. "It feels good to be a guy they tried up there and give the opportunity to me, and I didn't take it lightly at all. But I think, the same point, it's whatever's best for the team."
With two full seasons, a Stanley Cup Final, and a new contract under his belt, Heinen is now focused on amassing all of those experiences as he shifts his eyes to the future.
"People talk about it, but I guess you don't really know until you experience it and go through [a postseason run like that]. And I really think it does better you in the long run and down the road," said Heinen, who has now appeared in 33 career postseason games.
"I'm going to continue to work as hard as I can and try to get better every single day. Winning my battles…that's something I'll focus on for sure. And I think the experience we had this year will help us down the road for sure."
Video: TOR@BOS, Gm2: Heinen capitalizes on turnover