How’s this for a fun fact: Daniel Winnik is the first player in this series to have been traded for another player also profiled in this series.
Winnik, along with T.J. Galiardi, was a part of the Jamie McGinn trade at the 2012 trade deadline, as the Sharks tried to shore up their bottom six forward group ahead of the postseason.
In 21 games with the Sharks, Winnik did just that. Although he only scored five points, he was a reliable possession player at even strength, and an excellent penalty killer, where he provided a boost to San Jose’s poor power play that season.
With that in mind, it came as a surprise that the Sharks opted not to re-sign Winnik, as they opted instead to sign Adam Burish to a four-year-deal, which Winnik cited as a big reason for his departure.
Winnik signed with the division rival Ducks that offseason, and played two seasons in Anaheim. Since then, Winnik’s twice signed as a free-agent with Toronto Maple Leafs, only to be traded at the deadline.
In 2015, the Leafs shipped Winnik to Pittsburgh, before signing him to a two-year-deal as a free agent a few months later. Toronto once again traded Winnik to the Metropolitan Division at the 2016 trade deadline, but to the Capitals this time around.
Like some of his former teammates that remain on the Sharks, Pittsburgh ended Winnik’s season, as the Capitals fell to the Penguins in the second round. Winnik didn’t score much, but was a reliable possession player and penalty killer.
Since he’s playing for a Stanley Cup contender, it’s likely Winnik won’t be traded for the third consecutive season, and the fourth time in six years. But, with his contract expiring this summer and a Caps’ cap crunch looming, there’s a good chance he’ll be in yet another new place next season.
Winnik is pretty much the prototypical “bottom six penalty killer that can chip in offensively” that is in high demand among Stanley Cup contenders every trade deadline. He’s definitely shown the effects of age, but remains a positive impact on his teammate’s possession and goal-scoring numbers.
From the Archives:
Given what the Sharks gave up to get Winnik, plenty of fans were upset about the Sharks’ failure to re-sign him. As he did so often, The Neutral alleviated those concerns:
The main thing to keep in mind here is that there's no reason to be upset about the Sharks not re-signing Winnik solely because he was one of the main pieces in the Jamie McGinn trade. That's a sunk cost and, honestly, I'm still not convinced trading McGinn and two undrafted prospects, talented as Michael Sgarbossa may be, for T.J. Galiardi is the reverse-Thornton a chunk of the fanbase claims it to be. Grounds for legitimate concern in light of Winnik's move to the O.C. (don't call it that) are that the Sharks may believe Burish is the better player without a lot of evidence to support that or that the organization believed signing both players was unnecessary, although we most definitely don't have the whole story here.
Finally, I’ll cheat here as I steal from the archives of our friends over at Battle of California. Daniel Winnik became something of a folk hero in those parts, and the writers got a lot of mileage out of a fantastically fratty picture of Winnik. Current BoC Sharks writer Shampeon recounted “running into Winnik” ahead of Winnik’s return to the SAP Center with Toronto last season.