Heinen leaves Denver two years early to ink contract with NHL’s Bruins

Danton Heinen was Denver’s top scorer in his two seasons with the Pioneers (photo: Bradley K. Olson).

Denver sophomore forward Danton Heinen will forgo his junior and senior seasons to sign an entry-level contract with the Boston Bruins.

Heinen was selected by Boston in the fourth round (116th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft and has led Denver in scoring in each of the last two seasons.

“We’re very excited for Danton to be signing with Boston – it’s a great achievement and everyone in our program celebrates the accomplishment with him,” said DU coach Jim Montgomery in a statement. “The accolades he’s accrued and the numbers he’s produced during his time at Denver speak volumes about his talent as a hockey player, but the things that don’t show up on a score sheet – his tremendous character, work ethic and dedication to his teammates – are truly immeasurable and that’s what makes him such a special young man.

“It’s been an absolute pleasure to have coached Danton these last two seasons and we wish him nothing but the best as he enters the next stage of what will undoubtedly be a highly-successful career. We’re looking forward to watching him skate alongside the best players in the world in the near future.”

In 81 career games as a Pioneer, Heinen registered 93 points on 36 goals and 57 assists. He earned NCHC Freshman of the Year honors in 2014-15 and was named the conference’s Forward of the Year for 2015-16. The 20-year-old playmaker was named the inaugural recipient of the ASN Player of the Year Award last week after recording 20 goals and 48 points as a sophomore and captured All-Tournament honors at this year’s NCAA West Regional, tallying a goal and five assists in two games in helping DU reach its first Frozen Four since 2005.

“I’d like to thank everyone at Denver for two fantastic years and it’s been an honor to wear a Pioneers jersey,” added Heinen. “The administration, faculty, my teammates and the student body as a whole have been very supportive and the coaching staff has been nothing short of phenomenal. Coach Montgomery and his staff have been instrumental in helping me develop to a point that I believe I’m ready to begin my professional career and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they’ve done for me.”

After weighing in at 161 pounds as a freshman, he leaves DU having added 25 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot-1 frame in two short years.

“I wasn’t sure I was even ready for college hockey when I came here two summers ago but the coaches worked with me before, after and during practice to make me a better all-around player and prepare me for the next phase of my career,” said Heinen. “[DU strength and conditioning coach] Matt Shaw deserves a lot of credit for helping me develop physically and I wouldn’t be getting a chance to play at the next level if not for his efforts and the time we worked together in the gym. I know that DU Hockey is in great hands and I wish my teammates and everyone involved with the program nothing but the best as they seek to bring an eighth national title back to Denver.”


  1. His performance since January was better than really anyone in the country not playing on the CBS line. Was hoping he’d be back for one more year but hard to blame him.

  2. Based on his talent I’m not really surprised. However if he really wanted to se DU win it’s 8th National Title he would’ve stayed one more year. I know one of the reasons they replaced Gwozdecky with Montgomery was there were too many players leaving school early and overall Montgomery has been able to get the type of players who will stay and get their degrees.

  3. Disappointing but certainly expected. Bruins told him “current” plans are to have him play with the big club before a month into the season next year. Another example of what needs to be changed between NC$$ and NHL. Too many underclassmen, a ton from NCHC, buy this line and spend most of their careers in the minors.


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