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Season in Review: Daniel Winnik

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A good acquisition at the trade deadline has an up and down season with the Penguins.

Age: 30

Contract Status: Pending UFA as of July 1, 2015 (current AAV of $1.3M)

2014-15 Stats (with Penguins Only)

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

21

16:06

2

7

9

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

GF%

Zone Start %

PDO

52.8%

-1.5%

52.5%

58.3%

98.4


Penguins 2014-15 Forwards

pensforwards1415

Most frequent forward linemates

Linemates

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time

Sidney Crosby

77.8%

58%

110:28

Patric Hornqvist

77.8%

55.8%

76:29

Brandon Sutter

100%

58.7%

71:42

Winnik's numbers with his regular Pittsburgh teammates were really freaking good. It's rare to see such dominance in both possession and goals scored. A big reason for this is the small sample we have; Winnik only played 21 games for the Penguins. You should bet your home on those goal numbers dropping in the future. But small samples aside, Winnik's performance can't be undersold by the lack of more games. Perhaps the most telling stat is that he managed to put up dominant possession numbers with Brandon Sutter--a player not known for making those around him better.

Advanced Stats Hero

Winnik was earmarked by many in the advanced stats community over the summer. A guy who will sign for little money and no term is generally a good thing in a salary capped league. Throw in the fact that he's a reliable possession player, and you have the makings of a valuable asset. Winnik was a good addition to Toronto and a good addition to the Penguins.

The Good

Winnik was a reliable player who played up and down the lineup and put up 9 points in 21 games for the Penguins. Not bad for a guy who has to adjust to a new system very quickly. Also not bad for a guy who comes into a team with a constantly-shifting starting lineup due to rashes upon rashes of injuries. Winnik also displayed some nice play along the boards and the skillset to deke defenders and create space near the net. He's far from a plug; with the right teammates, I'd bet he could put up 35 or 40 points in a season. The thing that makes him especially valuable is that he seems to be undervalued. Paying a guy like that just barely north of $1M is good asset management.

The Bad

Two things in particular stand out as blemishes on Winnik's time with the Penguins. The first one is that he scored only 2 goals in 26 combined playoff and regular season games. That's about seven goals per 82 games. #Not #good. The second problem was his playoff performance. Winnik scored 0 points in five games (easy to see why that's bad). But the real kicker was that he had a 35% CF% in the playoffs this year. That is horrendously bad. Whatever misfortune might have ailed his shooting percentage, there is no excuse for Winnik putting up such poor possession numbers in the biggest games of the year.

Preseason expectations

We didn't have any true preseason expectations for Winnik since he started the season in Toronto. When he came over to Pittsburgh, I don't think the expectations were too high. We wanted him as insurance against the wave of injuries we were dealing with, and we hoped he could be a solid bottom-six option a la Lee Stempniak. On the flip side, no one thought he would be ineffective. Winnik was still expected, I think, to garner a decent amount of points.

Verdict

Winnik is a solid bottom-six forward. Those guys are important (we know better than other teams), and it's reasonable for the Penguins to want to bring Winnik back. But there are two variables to keep in mind. The first is that he is 30 years old. That puts him on the wrong side of the aging curve and also swimming against the current of "youth trumps all" that is slowly taking over the NHL.

The second variable is that Winnik really is a bottom-six player. We shouldn't re-sign him with expectations beyond "he can be a solid winger on the third line." As his scoring drought this year indicated, there's no reason to count on Winnik to produce in high leverage situations. And although he is a strong possession player, there are lots of guys that can replicate what he does. If he wants $1.5M or less, signing him makes sense. If he wants more, go to the barrel of free agent forwards instead. Value is everything in this league.

***

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Winnik’s season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".