Dominic Tiano: What’s Next For the Bruins (Pt. 12)- Front Office & Coaching

We all know Boston Bruins President Cam Neely and General Manager Don Sweeney have decisions to make, some of them tough ones, when it comes to players. But what decisions are there to be made in the front office or behind the bench, if any?

Let’s begin with the position of Director of Amateur Scouting, a position that has been vacant since Keith Gretzky departed to join former Bruins’ General Manager Peter Chiarelli with the Edmonton Oilers as an Assistant General Manager. Assistant General Manager Scott Bradley has been filling the role and will run the 2017 NHL Draft for the Bruins.

A decision must be made whether to keep Bradly in the duo role or focus more on one position or the other. If the Bruins brass decides to keep the two positions separate, they could look outside the organization to fill the role, much like Chiarelli did when he brought Gretzky to Boston.

They could also promote someone from within, and there are a couple of very good possibilities currently scouting for the Bruins.

Dean Malkoc has been through ten drafts with the Bruins and has scouted Western Canada, but has done more cross-over scouting recently. Ryan Nadeau is about to enter his 15th season with the Bruins. He has served as Director of Hockey Operations/Analytics for the past three seasons while also scouring the NCAA as a scout. The Bruins have done well drafting from the NCAA the past few seasons and Nadeau deserves some credit.

With the interim tag being removed from coach Bruce “Butch” Cassidy, the head coaching job is filled. As an assistant under Claude Julien when he was dismissed by Sweeney during the season, could/should the Bruins be looking for another assistant now to serve under Cassidy?

Joe Sacco and Jay Pandolfo serve as assistants. Bob Essensa is the goaltending coach, but spent a lot of time watching from upstairs once the coaching change was made. It’s not known yet who may become available that has a professional resume under his belt, or if one will even become available.

The Bruins could also look at the minor-league level, juniors or the NCAA for coaching talent.

Allow me to throw a name into the circle if I may, he’s a long shot, but a very capable coach. Rocky Thompson, head coach of the Windsor Spitfires, who are currently competing for the Memorial Cup.

Thompson began his coaching career with the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League. He would become an assistant coach with the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League and in 2014, spend a season as an assistant coach with the Edmonton Oilers. Last season, he returned to junior hockey and was named head coach of the Spitfires.

If you know me, then you know one area of concern I’ve had for the Bruins for some time now is the professional scouting department. The group is made up of Matt Lindblad, Adam Creighton, Tom McVie and Dennis Bonvie.

Creighton and McVie are the elders of the group, having been with the Bruins for 16 and 23 years respectively. There really isn’t enough of a sample size to judge Lindblad, added a year ago, and Bonvie, added two years ago. But this is one area I feel Neely and Sweeney must address this off season.


Boston Bruins development camp updates

I’m not at development camp this week, so here are some links to stories penned by those who are in attendance.

It sounds like Danton Heinen and Ryan Donato plus Ryan Fitzgerald impressed up front during the first day’s on-ice session, while Charlie McAvoy and Jeremy Lauzon were standouts on defense. Daniel Vladar’s physical tools make him tough to beat in the net- neither Malcolm Subban nor Zane McIntyre were a part of the session after doing earlier on-ice work with Boston coaches. 2nd-rounder Ryan Lindgren was not present Tuesday due to a summer school requirement but will be in Wilmington with the prospects today and for the remainder of the four-day program.

Just to reiterate- Rob O’Gara is not at development camp because the Bruins did not require him to be there. It would have been his sixth, and apparently- he is far enough along in his progression that his guidance was to keep working out and be prepared for the start of the Boston rookie camp in September. He signed a two-year ELC with the Bruins last March, which starts this season (he finished the 2015-16 campaign on an ATO with Providence), and don’t be surprised if he makes a serious run for NHL playing time either right away or during the season. With his size, mobility, smarts and attitude- he’s an attractive option for Boston as a fill-in or in the 4/5/6 slots.

Matt Benning was not invited to the camp per Providence Journal veteran correspondent Mark Divver, and that does not bode well for his future in the Bruins organization. Whether it was due to the 2012 draft’s sixth rounder stating his intent to seek better opportunities elsewhere (in order to pursue a similar path to that of Jimmy Vesey, Benning has to play out the entire 2016-17 NCAA season and wait until August 15 before he can sign with any team he chooses, unless the Bruins trade his rights and he comes to terms with that other team) or a decision made by the B’s is not confirmed at this time, but it appears that Benning may be the first casualty of the Bruins organization’s improved talent pool at the defense position. TSP had time for Benning; he was an underrated prospect with smarts, a physical game and NHL bloodlines, but it’s entirely possible that he saw the writing on the wall and wants to seek opportunities elsewhere. It’s also possible that this was a mutual understanding.

BruinsTV has the intro piece going on the 10th Annual Boston Bruins development camp:

Here are some links to the key Bruins development story lines and updates after Day 1:

1.Comm. Ave. Connection: McAvoy looks up to former BU teammate Grzelcyk

It did not take long for Matt Grzelcyk to notice the talent.

He had heard all about the young, gifted defenseman that was on his way to Boston University. So when Charlie McAvoy stepped onto the Agganis Arena ice last fall as a member of the Terriers, Grzelcyk was not surprised at the freshman’s immediate impact.|BOS|home

2. Bruins prospect Lauzon survives major injury to take his shot with the team

Hockey is a physical game, and you have to expect to get knocked down once in a while.

While it’s a rough-and-tumble sport, no one wants to think about the kind of injury that Jeremy Lauzon, a second-round draft pick by the Bruins in 2015, suffered on April 15.

During the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs, the left shot defenseman felt something on the right side of his neck. At first, he thought it was just a relatively minor stick foul until he saw the ice turning red. While battling for the puck behind his net, Lauzon fell to the ice and an opponent’s skate blade lacerated his neck that could have had far graver consequences than the nasty scar that runs under his right ear.

3. Boston Herald Bruins notebook: First-rounder Charlie McAvoy shapes up as a future leader

Charlie McAvoy has been lauded for the way he committed himself to his fitness once he arrived at Boston University last year.

But the Long Island product is, and will probably always be, a little plump in the face and jowls.

When it was suggested the 14th overall pick last month looked “a little fluffy,” Bruins assistant coach Jay Pandolfo did not agree.

4. Danton Heinen hopes to solve Bruins’ problems at right wing

Danton Heinen says he’s doing “everything he can” to take that job in training camp.

The Bruins got Heinen to go pro after his sophomore year at the University of Denver. The 6-foot-1, 190-ish-pound left shot forward was a fourth-round pick in the 2014 draft [worth noting: considering that draft also included Pastrnak and that the bar wasn’t exactly set high, it’s entirely possible that Peter Chiarelli’s final draft with the Bruins was his best outside of 2010], but since his selection has used strong play at the NCAA level to cement himself as a high-end scoring prospect.

5. Trent Frederic, who once played shinny with David Backes in Keith Tkachuk’s basement, doesn’t care about draft status anymore

Typically, a player with (Trent) Frederic’s kind of game — he’s got “jam,” as they say — doesn’t go early in the draft, and they use the mindset that draft status doesn’t matter once you’re given an opportunity. Frederic is taking the same mentality despite his fortune of being made a surprise first-rounder.

“I just really don’t think it matters,” he said after his first development camp practice. “If you look at a seventh-round guy and a first-round guy, there’s not much difference. It all comes down to the work you put in now.”

6. Malcolm Subban out to grab NHL job

It was back when Malcolm Subban was first starting to speak again, his voice still raspy and ragged, that he thought he would make his plea. What better time, really? He would ask his parents, at the height of their sympathy for him, to allow him to get a car.

“That’s why I did it,” Subban said, smiling, his voice recovered. “It’s the perfect time to ask.”

They didn’t bite.

Bruins news: Cassidy, Pandolfo join Boston coaching staff; Kevan Miller inks 4-year, $10 million extension

Tuesday brought some news out of the Boston Bruins’ camp with a pair of announcements.

The first was that Providence Bruins head coach (in his fifth season as bench boss) Bruce Cassidy and Jay Pandolfo, the B’s Director of Player Development, were both hired to replace Boston assistant coaches Doug Houda and Doug Jarvis to round out Claude Julien’s NHL coaching staff with Medford native Joe Sacco.

Cassidy is a polarizing figure among those fans who follow the development of prospects because there have been conflicts with certain players, while others have gone on to have success in Boston. Regardless of what you might think about Cassidy as Providence head coach, he’s got one of the sharpest hockey minds and I’ve always found his willingness to talk in detail about players…both the good and the bad…to be refreshing. In a hockey culture where many coaches either spout endless but empty platitudes about players or put out a word salad that tells you essentially nothing about how they feel about a particular individual, Cassidy is a guy who gives it to you straight and doesn’t mince words.

That doesn’t tell you how effective he’ll be as an NHL assistant coach, though I suspect he’ll do a fine job working with the defensemen (given his background I’m making that assumption). It is curious to me that Cassidy is one of two assistants (along with Sacco) with NHL head coaching experience and should the B’s move on from Julien at any point in the near future, he seems like a ready-made interim replacement. That’s probably putting the cart before the horse, but it’s interesting to note.

Pandolfo is getting his first NHL coaching job after hanging them up as a Bruin following multiple Stanley Cups with the Devils followed by a short stint with the Islanders. The BU product from Burlington was one of the best defensive forwards in his prime and he’s done good work with the prospects. He’s a solid add to the staff and I wish him well.

If this announcement was met with barely a ripple, the second release, which followed news broken by colleague D.J. Bean, had a decidedly different impact.

Bean tweeted out by around noontime that per agent Peter Fish, Bruins defenseman Kevan Miller had agreed to terms on a four-year, $10 million extension to avoid unrestricted free agency and remain with Boston- a $2.5M cap hit to retain the bottom-pairing defensive defender. (Cue the Jaws theme music please and voila!)


(Photoshop compliments of Greg Ezell aka Pez-DOY on Twitter- one of the voices of the most excellent Days of Y’Orr Bruins blog. I gave him the idea, but he did the nice work on bringing the concept to life.)

If you thought Cassidy was a polarizing figure… The former University of Vermont captain, who also played prep hockey with Berkshire School, was a fan fave as a whipping boy this past season. The Bruins also put in the Miller release that they brought back Seth Griffith on a one-year, two-way contract. (More on him in a future post)

Here are some quick thoughts on the Miller re-signing, with an attempt to be balanced, even though it is sure to draw criticism from both sides. In a vacuum, this signing does not look good. At age 29, he’s  coming off a year that was a nightmare collectively for the B’s blue line. Miller was one of the faces of a team D that was a known Achilles heel entering the year and a group that eventually came apart at the seams in the final weeks of an up-and-down 2015-16 season.

The one caveat I will throw out here is that this appears to be a transaction that is setting something else up. As long as this initiates the transformation of the B’s defense, there is no reason to be on the ledge over this. If not…well, uh…I got nothing.

Kevan Miller

The Good- As a bottom-pairing defender, Miller was a find as an undrafted free agent. He skates well and plays a physical, throwback style. His sudden emergence during the 2013-14 season as an injury replacement prompted Peter Chiarelli to sign him to a two-year extension at around $850k per, which was a bargain for a hard-nosed but limited player. In 2014-15, he missed much of the year to a major shoulder injury. This past year, he missed time for various injuries but did see enough action to post a career season in terms of production (he posted a respectable 5 goals and 18 points in 71 games- good for third on the Bruins in scoring among D). When asked to play the right role, Miller has proven to be effective. He’s tough to play against, will drop the gloves to defend teammates (and is a guy many NHL opponents have learned to steer clear of) and has better foot speed than Adam McQuaid (though he’s not as big with as long a reach). Like any player who is asked to play with more responsibilities than they are capable of, he struggles when going up against the top lines and with increased minutes and time on special teams. However, when you break him down purely as a third-pair, No. 5/6 defender, Miller is not the gongshow some would have you believe. He’s a game and gritty player who is always willing to take one for the team, and when you look at his injury history- he’s backed that up.

The Bad- As mentioned previously, the B’s and coaches gave Miller much more than just a bottom-pairing role on the B’s and he was exposed more often than not as a guy over his head at this level. He’s a pretty mobile skater, but he lacks the vision and instincts to be anything more than he’s shown thus far, and he often gets into trouble when he’s got the puck on his stick, in his own end and the F1 or F2 pressure get in his face. Like most players, Miller can make the requisite passes and plays with time and space, but with the faster, more skilled NHL- he was often under pressure and looked more a deer caught in the headlights. He was victimized on multiple memorable highlight reels goals for the other team. The one word you’re left with as an analyst when it comes to the decision by the Bruins to extend him is this: Why?

As an unrestricted free agent, Miller was in a similar position to Matt Bartkowski a year ago as someone who played a serviceable role at their lower-end cap hit, but once the contract was done, essentially priced himself out of Boston, allowing Vancouver and former B’s assistant GM Jim Benning, who’d had a hand in acquiring Bart from Florida in 2010, to step in. With Miller, I’m left wondering- what was the sense of urgency to re-up the UFA-to-be now? Don Sweeney and Bruins took some heat for offering a similar extension to McQuaid last year, announced over draft weekend in June. Now, you have an essentially redundant kind of player, and one who isn’t going to develop into something much more than he already is, under contract for another four seasons, but now at about triple his previous rate. Miller was more a part of the problem than the solution last year and now he’s back.

The Ugly-

The B’s have no shortage of lower-end defensemen who provide what Miller does. Now that he’s signed, what does that do for the openings on the blue line? Again- as it stands today- you expect another trade to happen to shed a veteran or three and their salary, because between three of the team’s least productive defenders, the Bruins currently have north of $9M invested. Dennis Seidenberg’s two more years at $4 million a pop is the obvious choice to jettison, and the B’s should be able to find a taker in a team that is looking to stay above the NHL’s cap floor. Of course, that any team that takes on Seidenberg and his surgically-repaired knees isn’t going to  pay much if anything at all for him.

McQuaid is another player who could be the object of a trade. He’s one of the best guys I’ve covered on the B’s in my 16 years of doing it for New England Hockey Journal, and I have the utmost respect for “Quaider” but he’s going to turn 30 in October (how is that even possible?) and the next time he plays 73 or more games in an NHL season (he’s been a regular for six) will be his first. Might McQuaid’s former GM in Chiarelli be willing to pay his $2.75M salary for three more years to bring him out to Edmonton? The Oilers need to get heavier, and he would certainly fit the bill for the Oil. If the B’s move Seidenberg and McQuaid, then Miller on the bottom pair for $2.5M isn’t a great cap figure, but it does become a little easier to swallow.

Of course- there’s still the matter of other players that need signed. Torey Krug is a big one, and what kind of new deal will he command after leading the Boston blue liners in scoring last season? Granted, the goals didn’t come for him like in previous years, but with a hit of $3.25M, he’ll get a significant boost on that if the B’s commit to retaining him. And he’s not the only one.

In conclusion, I’ll hold off on my judgment until I see what happens next and ultimately, where we are going into September. The negativity is understandable, but there won’t be a knee-jerk reaction here until the transformation takes place and we see how Sweeney builds the defense. That’s a leap of faith some have a hard time with, but here at the TSP- there’s time enough at last for patience.


Stat watchers beware- Heinen succeeding despite down numbers


A year ago, Danton Heinen came out of left field in the BCHL (and the fourth round of the NHL draft) to post one of the most productive seasons of any freshman NCAA player not named Jack Eichel.

His 16 goals and 45 points in 40 games a year ago for Denver University highlighted his fine puck skills and fine vision/offensive hockey sense. He’s a good skater, though lacks a top gear that would make him even more of a consistent threat on every shift. The biggest knock on Heinen a year ago was his average size and though he’s still listed at 161 pounds on some rosters, in speaking to him and others in the Bruins organization, he’s north of 180 pounds now. He’s still got some growing and physical maturing to do, but don’t be fooled by the outdated 160-pound measurement.

This season, it’s been tougher sledding for Heinen offensively. In 18 games, he has five goals and 11 points. Folks who just look at the stats line are starting to ask questions about that, so this is a quick post to provide some observations from several games I’ve seen from him on film. Interestingly enough, he had no points in either game, and even more intriguing- he was in my opinion, the best DU Pioneers player on the ice. I also recently interviewed Jay Pandolfo, Boston’s player development director, and he said the same thing- Heinen’s play has not been an issue at all, even if the pucks aren’t going in for him.

In his most recent weekend series against Notre Dame (officially ties), the Pioneers carried the offensive play, outplaying and shooting the Fighting Irish by a wide margin in both games. Thanks to Notre Dame goalie (and Sabres prospect) Cal Peterson, DU scored just three goals on 95 shots in both games. Give Peterson credit, because anything less than the stellar performance he brought with him from South Bend, and the outcome would have been different.

On Friday evening Heinen played extremely well, officially credited with five shots out of DU’s 50, but he also had multiple shot attempts- close to doubling that total in shots either blocked or ones that missed the net. Several of his shots on goal were of the high danger variety- Peterson made a great save to deny him on the power play and then another of Heinen’s shots squeaked through his pads but died on the goal line. The play went to review but was called a no goal. On one opportunity, he got behind the Notre Dame defense and broke in alone on Peterson, only to ring the puck off the post on the blocker side. Heinen’s line had 23 shots between them, so that unit was a going concern all night and only thanks to the Notre Dame netminder was the damage nearly negated (Moore scored on a flukey goal that hit Peterson’s mask, then pinballed into the net off his defenseman in front).

It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in a player’s statistical success, and Heinen would probably be the first to express his disappointment that the offense isn’t happening for him the way it did a year ago, but the good news for the player is that he’s still working hard and creating scoring chances. Losses of upperclassmen like Joe Laleggia, Daniel Doremus, Ty Loney and Zac Larraza haven’t helped much, either. Heinen is currently skating on a line with junior Trevor Moore (who is an undrafted free agent and looked real good against Notre Dame) and freshman Dylan Gambrell (named NCHC freshman of the week), and they are DU’s most productive unit, with all three currently in the team’s top-4 for scoring.

In the fast food mentality of modern sports fans, it is easy to look at Heinen’s lack of production and simply assume that he is playing poorly, but that is not the case. While there is a certain bottom line to everything in that Heinen is inviting criticism for not raising the scoring bar in his sophomore season, there are other factors in play. Denver as a team is collectively struggling to score and sometimes the blind luck of doing everything right on a play but still not having the puck go in for you play a part. Hovering around .500, the top scorer, Gambrell, has just 15 points in 18 games, so offense is at a premium. On a different club, and given the quality chances I’ve seen Heinen generating this year, it is a reasonable assertion that he would be faring better in that situation.

This is often lost on the stat watchers who aren’t seeing  many (if any) of the games and instead of seeking to find the right context, engage in the easy way out of assuming a player is not performing. In the eyes of Pandolfo and DU head coach Jim Montgomery, Heinen is doing the little things and as long as he keeps his high effort levels up, he’ll eventually be rewarded with production much like Matt Beleskey has in Boston.

In the end, Heinen’s best attributes- his soft hands, his superior vision and three-zone game and work ethic are all prized assets for any pro. It might mean the B’s will want him to return to DU for one more season in lieu of signing this spring, but the down numbers are not a major cause for alarm.

The Curious Case of Danton Heinen

When the Boston Bruins drafted Surrey Eagles captain Danton Heinen out of the BCHL in the fourth round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, there was a collective shrug that started in the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia and radiated outwards as those following and analyzing the draft sought information on the first real mystery player of that lottery.

He wasn’t anywhere to be found on the NHL’s Central Scouting lists. Nor did he appear in any of the independent lists out there to include my own Red Line Report. A 1995-born player, he had been previously passed over in 2013 and he wasn’t on any of those lists, either. As information began to trickle out, an intriguing picture of a late-blooming skill forward emerged, but it was not until he took the NCHC by storm last year that the real interest not only by fans but some of the NHL’s clubs that completely missed out on Heinen reached a crescendo.

I’m going to do the basic forensics to build a case on this rising star and scoring winger who is someone I see already near the top of Boston’s prospects depth chart with a high ceiling at the next level. Don’t sleep too long…the Heinen train is leaving the station and seats are filling up fast!

The crime: When the B’s called out Heinen’s name, I wasn’t there to hear it, as I was serving with the 1st Cavalry Division in Kandahar, Afghanistan. However, I saw the pick online and my reaction was no different from what it would have been if I was on the draft floor in Philly. In one word, it was “Who?”

To take such an unknown at 116th overall- in the final five selections of the fourth round, a player not anywhere on the pre-draft rankings, appeared to be a stretch. I was high on Soo Greyhounds forward Michael Bunting, who went one pick later to Arizona and the Rangers got value in Russian goalie Igor Shestyorkin one selection after that. Some of the guys I was projecting for Boston there a year ago who all went in the 5th round: skilled Massachusetts forwards Max Willman (Sabres) and Tyler Bird (Blue Jackets)…gritty energy guys like C.J. Franklin (Jets) or Shayne Gersich (Caps) or rugged WHL d-man Dysin Mayo (Coyotes) were all players I followed during the season and felt made sense at that spot.

Grabbing a soon-to-be 19-year-old with pretty average size on paper barely more than a point-per-game average in the BCHL led me to my next obvious question: “Why?”

Gathering evidence: The information soon began to trickle out on the Langley, BC native.

One story in the Surrey Leader related that Heinen was in Denver taking summer classes during the draft and was following the proceedings online because he had an idea that someone would call his name:

“He hadn’t refreshed the page in a few minutes so didn’t realize he had been drafted until his adviser called him with the news.

Heinen wasn’t on the final NHL draft rankings list both he and his adviser had fielded some questions from a few teams.

‘I had an idea that I might (get drafted) but it wasn’t guaranteed,’ he said.”

Some unsubstantiated rumors began floating that one of those teams the Bruins might have scooped was their hated rival up north- the Montreal Canadiens.

“I’d be lying if I said we didn’t see some of their guys around in the buildings when we were watching Danton,” one Bruins source said with a chuckle during a conversation I had with him last year about the discovery in 2014. “I’ll leave it to you to decide if that means we beat Montreal to the punch or not.”

Heinen did not attend the 2014 Boston Bruins development camp because the CBA did not permit him to miss pre-enrolled classes for the sake of attending an NHL team-sponsored event, so there was little to no firsthand knowledge of him until the 2014-15 NCAA campaign began that fall.

He wasted little time in establishing himself as an impact player right away, averaging a point per game for the DU Pioneers from start to finish. As the season went on, scouts who were concerned about his slight 6-foot frame (and though he’s listed at 165 pounds, Heinen himself insists he’s now closer to 180) and a wearing down effect put those issues aside. Heinen actually got *better* late in the year as his confidence seemed to blossom and he continued making plays all over the ice for his club to the tune of 45 points in 40 games, helping them reach the NCAA tournament quarterfinals.

Preferring charges: Heinen did not take a step back in Wilmington this past July when he suited up for his first B’s prospect camp. His mature game and slick playmaking skills were immediately evident to those in attendance and those of us who caught a bit of it online.

Matt Kalman wrote a good piece on Heinen for last month, and although he lists him at the disputed 165 pounds, here’s a key quote from the B’s prospect in that article:

“‘When I was like 16, I was pretty small. I never really got an opportunity at the WHL,’ said Heinen, who turned 20 earlier this month and is 6-foot, 165 pounds. ‘So I kind of … it was the right road for me. I was a little bit of a late bloomer. So it was just the best spot for me.’”

Bruins player development coach Jay Pandolfo was also impressed, saying:

“I don’t know if we were surprised, but when you see that, you open your eyes,” Bruins development coach Jay Pandolfo said. “You think maybe he’s closer than further away for sure. He had a great year last year.

“Now sometimes sophomore year can be a little tougher. Guys kind of know how he plays now, and it’ll be a little harder for him. So it’ll be interesting to see how he does this year. But the way he looks out there right now, I mean he’s headed in the right direction. He’s another guy that’s gotten stronger.”

Pandolfo praised Heinen’s poise with the puck, release and shot, and singled him out among the large group of prospects in the camp for making things look easy. But Pandolfo also said Heinen needs to get stronger and a little bigger.

The Bruins got Heinen because they did their homework where some other NHL teams did not.

They used their team methodology of getting multiple looks from different sets of eyes, and so if you’re out looking for one single scout to take credit for his discovery, you’ll be disappointed. Based on who is out where, you can surmise that Dean Malkoc had a major play in it and you wouldn’t be wrong, but he was the first to tell me when I texted him last year after one of Heinen’s many strong games to congratulate him that he was not the only one responsible. “Team effort” has, is and will be the mantra when it comes to the team finding talent that pans out. Same goes for those players who don’t meet expectations as well.

The indictment: Heinen has played a little center, but has mostly played split out to the left in his time at Denver University. He can play the off-wing if needed and the scouting report on him is encouraging: highly creative with superb vision and offensive instincts; slick, smooth hands and a quick stick to thread the needle or fire off accurate wristers coming down on the rush; not a blazing skater in open ice, but quick in his short-area burst and uses lateral agility to shake defenders in tight spaces; average size and strength; top-six NHL forward potential.

Yes, your honor- it appears that the Boston Bruins are guilty of draft day theft.

How much of a sentence they receive will depend on Heinen’s continued development and how he turns out, but the initial returns are highly encouraging.

 Further crime scene investigation:

You can read my own coverage on Heinen not only on this blog but also in the New England Hockey Journal:

Here’s a post-game interview at DU last season:

Heinen is 59 in this YouTube video of B’s development camp drills:

July 201ost-draft piece in Surrey Leader feature on Heinen by Matt Kalman