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NHL Free Agency

Replacing McCann? Penguins Sign Free Agent Winger Danton Heinen

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Danton Heinen, Pittsburgh Penguins, NHL free agency

After the Pittsburgh Penguins traded Jared McCann to the Toronto Maple Leafs for fear of losing him for nothing in the Seattle Kraken expansion draft, the Penguins did lose winger Brandon Tanev. The Penguins and GM Ron Hextall signed the Tanev replacement, Brock McGinn, on Wednesday, and on Thursday, the team took a flier on LW scorer Danton Heinen.

The deal is one year for $1.1 million, so it’s short-term and economical as Heinen is too fresh from a pair of down seasons with the Anaheim Ducks.

Heinen appeared on the PHN watch list of affordable UFAs on Wednesday morning. Last season he scored 14 points, including seven goals in 43 games. He had only 26 points in 67 games split between the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks the season before that.

Heinen is a finese winger. He’s 6-foot-1, 188 pounds, and delivered only 32 hits last season. However, physical isn’t in his job description. Heining has soft hands and an ability to finish.

His best season was his rookie year, 2017-18. He scored 47 points with 16 goals in 77 games. He dipped to 34 points in his second season, and Boston traded him to traded Anaheim to near the NHL trade deadline in 2019.

In 272 career games, Heinen has 44 goals, 77 assists, 121 points, and is plus-9.

In 19 playoff games, Heinen has three goals, six assists, nine points, and is plus-6 in 33 games. He dressed for all seven of the Bruins Stanley Cup Final games in 2019, registering one assist.

Heinen, 26, can play center but is a LW. Guessing the Pittsburgh Penguins lines in fall will include putting Heinen on the third-line LW. We don’t yet know if Jeff Carter will be the second or third-line center. That decision will depend on Evgeni Malkin and his surgically repaired knee.

Heinen is the third UFA the Penguins signed to a one-way deal since the free agency period officially began at noon on Wednesday. The Penguins also re-signed Evan Rodrigues on Wednesday to a one-year deal. They brought back Dominik Simon on a two-way, one-year deal, and inked McGinn to a four-year contract.

Journeyman defenseman Taylor Fedun also signed a two-way deal on Wednesday, as did Michael Chaput on Thursday.

After the signing, PuckPedia reports the Penguins to have about $2.5 million in cap space left. They’re still short one RHD and need to give Zach Aston-Reese a new contract. 

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Pittsburgh Hockey Now Editor-in-Chief, formerly 93.7 The Fan, Sportsnet Hockey Tonight, NHL Home Ice. Catch Dan tweeting @theDanKingerski and the official @pghhockeynow account.

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Gbg
Gbg
1 month ago

I think to call him a “scorer” with numbers like those may be a bit generous.

Big B
Big B
1 month ago
Reply to  Gbg

3 more play-off goals than McCann has.

Big B
Big B
1 month ago

The Pens have in reality traded Jared McCann and Tanev for Heinen,Mcguinn,Hallander a 7th round draft pick and about 2.7 million in extra cap space to sign Aston-Reese and Zohorna. Not a bad days work if you ask me and Hexy is onlly getting started so give him a chance Pens Nation.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago
Reply to  Big B

This isn’t all gloom and doom, i agree. Also, fingers crossed, Legare and Poulin may get a chance to show their stuff. They also have one of the best coaches in hockey…and that Crosby guy.

Sure, it would be nice to upgrade the goaltending and add a more physical defenseman, but so far they haven’t done too terribly.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
1 month ago

They are now even softer than they were. Sullivan won’t play big tough guys. He loves Simon. They won’t make the playoffs this year and my hope is that Sullivan gets fired!

jackw
jackw
1 month ago
Reply to  Big B

Exactly right. I really liked both McCann and Tanev. But neither of those guys were worth the angst that some have shown. I get it if that was your favorite player, in that case I don’t blame you at all for being ticked off.

But while McCann would show flashes of potential he was never consistent, and Tanev is a supporting cast member who can be replaced.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
1 month ago

If they could trade Petterson and bring in gudbranson I would be happy as a pig in mud.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago

I have a feeling that they are going to have to ride out the contracts of Petterson and Zucker. Maybe they will rebound from last season and live up to their contracts. We can only hope. A new franchise starting from scratch chose to pass on both of them. That tells me that they have not much trade value at this point

Cal
Cal
1 month ago

Another softie.

Zane Gearhart
Zane Gearhart
1 month ago

Its starting to look like a line-up. We need 3 more moves. Sign Gudbranson for a cheap 1 year deal, trade petterson or bribe someone to take him, then use the space with a 3 way trade to bring back fleury. If GMRH can make those moves the lineup below looks pretty good on paper

Jake-sid-rust
Heinen-geno-kappy
Zucker-carter-erod
Zar-blueger-mcginn

Dumo-letang
Matheson-marino
Poj-guddy

Flower
Jarry

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago
Reply to  Zane Gearhart

Fleury won’t happen, even though many would like to make it happen. The pens aren’t interested, otherwise i think they could have done better than the blackhawks price of NOTHING(no disrespect to the ECHL player) to get him. Jarry will have to do, and i have faith that he will rebound and learn from his mistakes.

Ken Colligan
1 month ago

The smallest team in the league continues to shrink. Heiden is a fringe offensive guy with absolutely no physicality to his game. No wonder Burke is in hiding. He has to be embarrassed. I have not seen him this quiet in twenty years. You wonder how much longer he stays with the organization.

Big B
Big B
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken Colligan

Heinen and Brock Mac are not smal and each is a little bigger than the guy they replaced.

Stephen Powanda
Stephen Powanda
1 month ago
Reply to  Ken Colligan

HE WON’T STAY LONG BECAUSE HE HAS NO INPUT. BRING TOCHETT BACK TO DO HIS JOB.

Robert Shoemaker
Robert Shoemaker
1 month ago

What is the hold up on the ZAR contract? I am wondering if maybe they are looking for a trade to avoid going to arbitration

Ken Colligan
1 month ago

Very possible

Scott Maloni
Scott Maloni
1 month ago

The fact that you’re advocating a new contract for ZAR disqualifies you as a columnist. What more do you need to see?

Rob
Rob
1 month ago
Reply to  Scott Maloni

Thanks! Never been called a columnist before 😁 Not really advocating, just curious as to why its taking so long.

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