Daniel Winnik was the the last addition the Toronto Maple Leafs made this off-season. He was signed to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million. Not much for a player that could have a big impact on the team.
Winnik spent last season with the Anaheim Ducks, a team that finished first in the tough Western Conference and second in the entire NHL, one point behind the Boston Bruins. Winnik was an integral part of that team, averaging more 15 minutes a game.
With all the additions the Leafs made this off-season, Winnik will more than likely end up on the fourth-line. The good thing is that Winnik can play any forward position so he can fit in wherever the Leafs need him. He’ll also be a very important part of the Leafs penalty-killing, a part of the Leafs game that once again fell to the bottom of the league.
However, Winnik has spent his entire career with in the Western Conference, never playing a game for an Eastern Conference team. Of course, we all know that the Western game is a lot more rough and tumble than the East, which has a more open style of play. So, when asked yesterday about what he’ll bring to the Leafs, he unsurprisingly said,
“I’ll bring the western style, kind of hard-nosed, and defence-first attitude.”
Winnik is another hometown player the Leafs have brought in. He talked about that and the Leafs chances of winning this season.
“I’m excited. I was a Leafs fan… I hope it works out. I think it will. It’s not set in stone where I’ll play on this team. But I really like the makeup of the team and the possibilities of winning here.
“Again, nothing against the East, but it seems that every team can come out of the East.”
The last statement could ring true. I heard a lot of comparisons between the Leafs and the New York Rangers, the team that represented the Eastern Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals last season. I’m not saying the Leafs are going to make the Stanley Cup Finals, but Winnik is right. Any team can come out of the East.