After a heartbreaking Stanley Cup Final loss, Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney sat quietly through the July 1st free agency period adding only two small depth forward additions. However, last night, Sweeney finally got his hands dirty by signing restricted free agent forward Danton Heinen to a two-year deal worth $5.6 million ($2.8 AAV). This came just hours after the Bruins had learned Heinen would go to arbitration on August third.
Did the Bruins overpay?
First off, in today’s market .. No not at all. Heinen fell off last season after an impressive 16 goal campaign in 2017-18. However, he is a very responsible two-way forward and sure seemed to be an ideal third-line winger on Charlie Coyle’s line. When you look at Bruins’ players from the past and you see a guy like Frank Vatrano have the season he had you have to like the Bruins brass not giving up on the player so fast this time around.
Danton Heinen Career
Where do the Bruins sit cap-wise?
According to CapFriendly.com, the Bruins currently have $8.1 million in cap space with RFA’s Charlie Mcavoy and Brandon Carlo still without a new deal. That’s just not going to cut it. The fact of the matter is the Bruins must trim some financial fat from the roster. And to get skinny enough, look no further than to the defensive log jam the team has on the back end. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that one of those guys have got to go.
With that said, Kevan Miller is the most likely to be moved. The rugged Miller has one year and $2.5 million left on his contract and his hard nosed style of play would make him a great mid-level pick up for a team lacking some snarl. Other player options Sweeney and Co could look to move would be the obvious (but not likely) overpaid forward David Backes. You can add John Moore to the list as well. Moore had a hard time locking down a top six role in his first season in Boston. No matter what way you slice it, Charlie McAvoy will likely come in around $6 million a season and Brandon Carlo could be looking at the $4-5 million range on a shorter term.
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While Don Sweeney has some work to do, there is little doubt in anyone’s mind ive spoken to that the GM will be able to make the necessary move(s) to ensure his two cornerstone pieces on the back end will man the fort for years to come. It will just involve a little creativity from The ‘Undisputed Heavyweight Champion of The World’ (reigning general manager of the year).
The future is still very bright for the black and gold.