May 14, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Daniel Winnik (34) celebrates after a goal in the second period in game six of the second round of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto Maple Leafs Add Daniel Winnik in Deft Depth Move

The Toronto Maple Leafs continue to make headlines in the dying days of the free agency frenzy period that opened earlier this month.

Today, they grabbed attention by signing 29-year-old Toronto native Daniel Winnik to a one-year deal worth $1.3 million.

Apr 6, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Daniel Winnik (34) follows the play against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Apr 6, 2014; Edmonton, Alberta, CAN; Anaheim Ducks forward Daniel Winnik (34) follows the play against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place. Mandatory Credit: Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Sound familiar? David Booth, Petri Kontiola and Mike Santorelli all signed similar deals with the Leafs this off-season – deals that carry a lot of potential at minimal expense for the club.

Winnik spent the two previous seasons playing for the Anaheim Ducks. He recorded a career-high 30 points (6 goals, 24 assists) last season, but he’s spent most of his career in the 10-25 point range.

The addition of Winnik bumps the number of natural centremen on the Leafs’ current roster to eight so there’ll definitely be some experimentation somewhere down the road. At a minimum, however, Winnik adds depth to the team’s bottom two lines. He also brings valuable playoff experience from his time in Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix, which the Leafs’ll surely welcome.

What’ll be Winnik’s biggest hurdle in transitioning to NHL hockey Toronto style? The media? The fans?

My bet: the weather. This’ll be his first NHL season away from the California and Arizona sun.

There are many joys to playing in Toronto, but the weather isn’t one of them. Hopefully, Winnik’ll be a darling and bring back some sun with him.

(Editor’s Note: After viewing a bunch of Andrew Wiggins stories over the past few weeks, my proof reading feature seems to prefer “Wiggins” over “Winnik” – my apologies! All other errors are due to my own incompetence so don’t be alarmed if you find a few.)

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Tags: Daniel Winnik Toronto Maple Leafs

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