Thoughts On The Ritchie/Heinen Swap For Boston

There were many interesting trades made on last Monday’s 2020 trade deadline, however, the Danton Heinen for Nick Ritchie swap was one that very much intrigued us. This was the second deal Ducks GM Bob Murray and Bruins GM Don Sweeny made with each other during the deadline season, as the Ducks also sent Ondrej Kase to the Bruins in a separate deal. The Bruins are rolling as of late, with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games, a two-game win streak, and a 41-13-12 record overall. This is good for 94 points in 66 games, which is the best in the league. With Boston ahead of St. Louis by six points in the league standings, it may be safe to say the Bruins may be the favorites to win the 2020 President’s Trophy.


While we think Boston gained more grit and toughness, analytically, Ritchie’s numbers are far inferior than Heinen’s and have a much larger sample size as well. Nick Ritchie was drafted 10th overall by the Anaheim Ducks in 2014, ahead of players like Dylan Larkin, Alex Tuch, Nick Schmaltz, Kasperi Kapanen, and Jakub Vrana. Of that group, Ritchie has the lowest career AB score at -3.30 over a four year period sample. This season in Anaheim, Ritchie took 16 penalties and failed to draw a single one and has already taken another two with Boston in three games played. This gives him a penalty drawn/taken ratio of 0:18, which is abysmal, to say the least. His giveaway/takeaway ratio in Anaheim was solid at 16:11 and has a 1:0 ratio with Boston in three games so far. Ritchie is -2 +/- wise on the season and has scored 9 goals and registered 12 assists in 44 total games played. Since the trade, Ritchie has scored a goal and registered an assist with the Bruins in three games. Ritchie currently plays on a line with David Krejci, and fellow trade deadline acquisition Ondrej Kase. At 24 years of age, Ritchie makes $1.498 million and will be a restricted free agent at the conclusion of next season.


When compared to Ritchie, Danton Heinen is a much better overall player in our opinion, and our data shows that as well. Heinen has a +3.43 career AB score in two seasons and had a solid penalty drawn/taken ratio with Boston this season at 7:3. His giveaway/takeaway ratio was 27:15, with the Bruins, and he was +3 on the year. He scored 8 goals and registered 16 assists for 24 points in 61 games played in Boston. Heinen played around the same number of minutes under coach Bruce Cassidy as he did last season with 14:22. Since the trade, Heinen has scored a goal and registered an assist with the Ducks for two points in three games. At 24 years of age, Danton Heinen makes $2.8 million and will become a restricted free agent at the conclusion of this season.


We think that Nick Ritchie is the type of player that teams don’t want to play against, and could help the Bruins in another long playoff run. However, we are worried that Ritchie’s style of play would actually end up hurting the Bruins, as he’s not like a Tom Wilson type enforcer that has a positive career AB score (+1.05). For that reason, we think Anaheim won the trade, but we will certainly be paying attention to how Ritchie does in the last month of the regular season and throughout the Bruins’ playoff run.


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