Parting ways with long-time Washington Capital Brooks Laich wasn’t easy, but there is a return on his departure. That return in the form of a player is Daniel Winnik.
Who is Daniel Winnik?
So, who are the Capitals getting in Daniel Winnik? The 30 year-old journeyman forward was a ninth-round draft pick in 2004 by the then Phoenix, now Arizona, Coyotes. After playing in college for the University of New Hampshire, Winnik split time between the San Antonio Rampage of the AHL and the Phoenix Roadrunners of the ECHL. He began his NHL journey with the Coyotes as a rookie in 2007-08, putting up 26 points in 79 games.
Winnik’s path would wind through several NHL franchises on his way to Washington. He has had stops with the Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks, two separate stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Most recently with the Leafs, he put up 14 points (4 goals, 10 assists) in 56 games over the course of 2015-16 so far. He has 198 points (62 goals, 136 assists) in 625 NHL games to-date.
Last season, 2014-15, which he split between two teams, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Toronto Maple Leafs, may have been Winnik’s finest statistically speaking. He had his highest points-per-game total with 0.43. In 79 contests, he garnered 34 points (9 goals, 25 assists) with a plus-23 on ice.
The Hockey News tabs Winnik with being able to play any position and with defensive skill. His defensive awareness at the forward position is evidenced by the eight votes he received for the Frank J. Selke trophy last season.
Although he has strength in the defensive aspect of the game, he is no slouch on offense. Take a look at some of his offensive skills, from his time spent with the Anaheim Ducks in 2013-14.
Where Will Winnik Play?
Winnik is slated to play on the fourth line with center Mike Richards and Jay Beagle according to a recent report at the Washington Post. In an odd twist with the recent trade, Winnik will be facing his former team, the Toronto Maple Leafs, when he suits up for the first time as a Washington Capital. Although he may miss playing for his hometown team in the Leafs, he’s no doubt happy to be going from a last-place squad to the team with the best record in the Conference, and headed for a playoff run.
* Featured Image Provided By (Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports)
Scott is a published writer and editor in the sports, fitness and business fields. He currently covers the Washington Capitals for The Hockey Writers. Based in the New York metro area, he is a Villanova University alumnus.