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Penguins re-sign Danton Heinen to one-year contract

After a good season, Heinen returns to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Penguins v New York Rangers - Game Seven Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images

The Penguins made a signing today, grabbing back forward Danton Heinen for a one-year contract. Two weeks after free agency began, the deals weren’t there for Heinen, who is back for actually less money than last season.

From the team:

The Pittsburgh Penguins have agreed to terms with forward Danton Heinen on a one-year contract, it was announced today by general manager Ron Hextall.

The one-way deal will run through the 2022-23 campaign and carries an average annual value of $1 million.

Heinen, 27, finished his first season with Pittsburgh in 2021-22, recording 18 goals, 15 assists and 33 points in 76 games. His 18 goals were a single-season career high, and his three power-play goals tied his career best set in 2019-20. Fifteen of his 18 goals came at even strength, which trailed only Jake Guentzel (33) and Sidney Crosby (23) for most on the Penguins.

The 6-foot-1, 188-pound Heinen has played parts of six seasons in the NHL split between Pittsburgh, the Boston Bruins and Anaheim Ducks. In 348 career games, Heinen has recorded 62 goals, 92 assists, 154 points and is plus-15. His best season came in 2017-18 when he finished fifth on Boston with a career-high 47 points (16G-31A) in 77 games.

The Langley, British Columbia native has 40 games of Stanley Cup Playoff experience with Pittsburgh and Boston, where he’s picked up six goals, six assists, 12 points and is plus-5. He tallied three goals in Round One of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the New York Rangers.

Heinen was a pleasant surprise last year with the 18 goals he chipped in, and bouncing around the lineup in various roles.

The market for players in his mold has been really tough this off-season in the flat cap world. Ryan Donato, a very similar player to Heinen as a 26-year old who scored 16 goals and 31 points last season with Seattle and wasn’t qualified, returned to the Kraken for a deal worth $1.2 million.

Others in the same boat, like Heinen’s former teammate Evan Rodrigues, also remain unsigned, despite being young, having value on the ice but it hasn’t translated to receiving pay days.

The Pens don’t have a ton of cap room, but could use the reinforcements for the bottom-six forward group. Heinen was a piece who fit. He was reportedly looking for a contract in the $3 million range, didn’t find it, and is now coming back to a place where he had a good year.