One of the Anaheim Ducks’ bigger moves of the trade deadline was sending Nick Ritchie to the Bruins. The addition of Danton Heinen will allow the Ducks to be more disciplined.
For years, Anaheim Ducks fans have pleaded with Bob Murray to send former first-round draft pick, Nick Ritchie, packing. After a contract hold out prior to the 2018-19 season, his relationship with the fans was soured even more. While it was surprising that GMBM pulled the trigger, Ducks fans got what they wanted, and the Boston Bruins gained an excellent forward.
I could sit here and list all of the reasons why GMBM shouldn’t have traded Nick Ritchie. You better believe I have all of his stats pulled up on my computer screen to prove to you that he isn’t as bad as you think he is. An excellent play driver, Nick Ritchie has stepped up these past two seasons and been a silent, yet steady, contributor for the Anaheim Ducks.
Nevertheless, what’s done is done, and there is no further point in me trying to defend Nick Ritchie and plead with you to give him a chance. Granted, there are some of you who saw him in the same light that I did, but I understand why so many fans were hell-bent of getting him out of Anaheim. His recklessness was, more often than not, a hindrance to his teammates. While the Ducks still rely on a physical style of hockey, Ritchie will be a much better fit for the likes of the Boston Bruins.
Shockingly, after the Ondrej Kase trade, which brough David Backes, Axel Andersson, and a 2020 first-round pick to Anaheim, the Ducks and the Bruins weren’t finished with their trade deadline negotiations. Prior to the 3 pm ET deadline, the Anaheim Ducks announced that they had traded Nick Ritchie to the Boston Bruins in exchange for 24-year-old Danton Heinen.
Murray Looking to Get More Disciplined with Danton Heinen
Danton Heinen, a 24-year-old Langley, BC native is a former 2014 fourth-round pick of the Boston Bruins. Despite his draft position being much later than Nick Ritchie’s, the Canadian forward has shown tremendous promise at the NHL level. In his rookie season with the Bruins, he posted 47 points, including 16 goals and 31 helpers. While his production has dropped slightly in the following years, Heinen has been a good asset for the Bruins.
He will add grit to the roster, something we all know Bob Murray loves. What makes him such a great acquisition is that his ability to play any of the three forward positions will make it easy for Eakins to insert him anywhere in the lineup. He competes night in and night out, a quality that has likely been magnified by playing in the Boston Bruins system.
Heinen likely isn’t going to add the goal scoring that the Ducks have desperately needed throughout the season, being more of a setup guy than anything. However, he plays a decent defensive game that we hope won’t be squandered by Eakins’ inability to coach defense.
He, like Ritchie, isn’t afraid to be that pesky net-front presence. However, the biggest upside of Heinen’s game that has Ducks fans jumping for joy is his discipline. During his time in the NHL, his career-high in PIM is 42. That is a serious upgrade from Ritchie’s 331 career PIM. While the Ducks still have players like Nicolas Deslauriers and Erik Gudbranson who can rack in the penalty minutes, having a player who can keep a cool head and is keenly aware of his surroundings will be a nice change of pace for a team who has been, otherwise, undisciplined these past few years.
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Nick Ritchie is a Good Fit for Boston
Making the trade for Nick Ritchie wasn’t an easy decision for Boston Bruins GM Don Sweeney. The personal relationship he had formed with Danton Heinen made it bitter-sweet to part ways with the young forward. However, as we all know, hockey is a business and sometimes, the hard calls need to be made.
While parting with Heinen’s $2.8M cap hit is likely a factor in this trade, Nick Ritchie instantly addresses a deficiency in the Boston Bruins lineup. Ritchie plays a tougher brand of hockey that will add size, strength, and toughness to the Bruins roster. One of the Bruins’ biggest criticisms this season has been the struggles they face when pitted against some of the tougher defensive cores in the league. Both Sweeney and Bruce Cassidy hope that adding a bigger player to their lineup will act as a solution.
Ritchie does have more goals than Heinen, but he also has more hits, again, adding more physicality to the Bruins game. His smaller cap hit is likely another benefit for a team with very limited cap space. There is speculation that Ritchie will be paired with Anders Bjork and Charlie Coyle to fill a role on a checking line. However, together, the three of them should be able to provide the Bruins with some solid scoring as well.