Leafs Sign Daniel Winnik to Two-Year Deal

While not everyone is a huge fan of the Phil Kessel trade, I’m pretty sure everyone is pretty pleased with the Leafs’ continued smart maneuvering on the free agent market – they’ve just signed Daniel Winnik to a two-year contract.

More past the jump…


Winnik actually signed a one-year deal with Toronto on July 28th last year, choosing his hometown team after bouncing around the NHL with Phoenix, Colorado, San Jose and Anaheim. About four months ago, the Leafs traded him to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Zach Sill (now a UFA), a fourth round pick in 2015 (traded to Edmonton in the Martin Marincin deal) and a second round pick in 2016. That second rounder went back to Pittsburgh today in the Kessel deal. 

A solid contributor on both sides of the puck, Winnik scored seven goals and 25 points in 58 games for the Leafs last season, while also playing a big role on the penalty kill. With Pittsburgh, he had nine points in 21 games. He’s money on the third line.

Most importantly, coming back to Toronto with Winnik will be his bulldogs. Find photos below, as well as reaction to the deal from the Toronto bulldog community.






  • Gary Empey

    We seem to be acquiring a lot of character guys.
    This bodes well for the development of our prospects.

    The Leafs may lose more games then they win this year but the opposing team will have to bring their A game if they expect to beat us.

    • STAN

      Agree. It’s all about character. The older guys demonstrating every day what it takes to be professional and never quit.

      I want Booth and Franson back too. Franson to lead this young defense and Booth to show that a 31-32-year old who was once a pretty good scorer still has speed and a scoring touch.

      • TGT23

        I’d be okay with Franson on a good, short contract. I don’t want him to get overpaid or be here for 4+ years. A nice 2 year deal is something I can live with, though.

  • jasken

    I like Winnik coming back immediately made a bet first game aginst Pitts Winnik lays a hard hit on Kessel knocking him to ice. Kessel than slowly gets up and lolligags to bench and puts his head down.

  • STAN

    Dumbass is getting schooled here by the potato. Nonis picked him up last year for both less term and cap.

    Still a good signing but I find it unbelievable that Nonis somehow outnegotiated Dubas here

    i suppose i need to change my name now.

    • TGT23

      Not the same thing.

      That’s kind of like saying “I can’t believe Burke paid Mason Raymond that much. Nonis got him for $1m”…

      Last year Winnik was still trying to prove himself as a capable player in the league. He proved that. This year he gets paid for it. Just like Raymond got paid for his good year in Toronto.

  • CMpuck

    I recall a late June day some 11 years ago when the N.B.A. draft was on and rookie G.M. Bob Babcock selected some slug named Luis Arujo. At about the same time the Jays who were playing winning ball had Doc Haliday going on the mound. Doc took a vicious line shot back at him that broke his leg. A third t.v. set at the local neighborhood bar I was at announced that the Leafs were keeping their management which had the team deteriorating rapidly.

    It was a sad, sad day. Then you have a day like today where the club unloads a quitter, a non team guy, a huge salary guy who simply told leaf fans, the media and his teammates he played his own style with his own leash and to hell with a team concept.

    Oh sure all home team fans and media think they should get hall of famers back on a trade. But when a guy is considered to be a major liability as a team player and simply quits half way through a year when his leash got tightened, 3 goals in 25 games, you take what the opposition gives you and you unload that huge salary contract or as much as you can. So a great day for the leafs.

    The Jays for the 14th time this year scored 10 runs in a game. Will they make the playoffs? Hard to say but they are one of the most entertaining teams in the league as they have out scored every team in baseball by a large margin.

    The Raptors under their brilliant G.M. who was voted G.M. of the year a couple of years ago and has brought 48 and 49 victory seasons goes out and gets a great small forward in from Atlanta as a free agent to solidify their line up. This guy Carroll, who is a defensive stand out known is as the junk yard dog. In other words he is the antithesis of Phil Kessel when it comes to defence.

    Thus a great day for Toronto sports fans.

  • TGT23

    TSN recently did a study of drafted players from 2000 to 2009. 80% of first round picks played at least 50 games who were selected in the first round. The second round saw a sharp drop to 44% and the percentage lowered to 30% in the third round by the 4th to 7th rounds it dropped to 20% and less.

    So let me see if the new leaf management got this right. They dropped the 24th pick who had an 80% chance of playing 50 games to a 34th pick who has a 44% chance and the addition of 2 third round picks who have a 30% chance of playing 50 games. Seems logical to me.

    • That’s a very flawed way of looking at it. Picks 1-10 greatly pull up that first round average to 80%.

      The later picks, like the 24th, are much lower than 80%.

      The drop off in odds of success between 24th and 34th is much smaller than you’re making it out to be, and it is more than made up for by the additional picks that were acquired.

      • FlareKnight

        Justin the key is whether or not with the large number of changes in the scouting staff and having Mark Hunter basically heading the drafting staff, the leafs have better luck with their picks.

        Obviously throwing away so many picks especially second rounders hasn’t helped the ratio of success.

        You are right about the later picks as perfectly illustrated by the hopeless Tyler Biggs.

        One thing we know is that this year’s selection can’t be any worse than 1989 when the leafs got the bright idea of taking three players from the same junior club in the first round. You know the hall of fame trio of Pearson, Bancroft and Thorton.

        Perhaps one of the writers in this blog can do a detailed study over a period of time on what team’s have had the most success with later round picks. Obviously Detroit stands out but it would be interesting to see what other teams have been successful over the past couple of decades.

      • FlareKnight

        Justin the key is whether or not with the large number of changes in the scouting staff and having Mark Hunter basically heading the drafting staff, the leafs have better luck with their picks.

        Obviously throwing away so many picks especially second rounders hasn’t helped the ratio of success.

        You are right about the later picks as perfectly illustrated by the hopeless Tyler Biggs.

        One thing we know is that this year’s selection can’t be any worse than 1989 when the leafs got the bright idea of taking three players from the same junior club in the first round. You know the hall of fame trio of Pearson, Bancroft and Thorton.

        Perhaps one of the writers in this blog can do a detailed study over a period of time on what team’s have had the most success with later round picks. Obviously Detroit stands out but it would be interesting to see what other teams have been successful over the past couple of decades.

        • Jeremy Ian

          “Justin the key is whether or not with the large number of changes in the scouting staff and having Mark Hunter basically heading the drafting staff, the leafs have better luck with their picks.”

          Sorry to pick on you here, but that’s only one part of the process. And it has nothing to do with luck. The scouting and development is crucial at the lower picks because…

          In all flawed selection processes (like universities and sports teams — which are very similar because they choose young people with very limited data on performance), the more you bring into a pool the more likely you will find successful outcomes. But the selection, by definition, excludes or defers many who might otherwise contribute.

          If a university only takes the top 10 applicants and excludes the next 10, that university is missing a real opportunity — yes, admittedly with a slightly lower (or “marginal propensity” as an economist would say) chance of success per individual. But if the pool as a whole is larger, then you have increased the aggregate chance of success for the whole.

          What the Leafs have done is created more capacity to absorb more prospects.

          That’s why you want scouting and development to understand what they are committing to.

          It’s very smart. In this cap age, this is going to be the model for sustained success.

          (But I am still unhappy about the returns on the Kessel trade).

          • TGT23

            Jeremy I tend to agree that luck is only one component in the drafting of players. Too often teams will not even see players right under their noses. Classic case of this is the Canucks who had two captains with the Vancouver Giants who the Canucks showed no interest in. One was Milan Lucic who went around 50th and the other was Brendan Gallagher who went in one of the later rounds.

            The leafs rightfully cleaned house of their scouting staff but surprisingly kept one of the chief architects of disaster in Dave Morrison. The Canucks have kept their head scout Ron Delorme for years. Neither team has drafted well.

            I just don’t think any team was willing to give much for Kessel at this point as it is my belief that a lot of clubs have been soured by Kessel’s lack of a 200 foot game and his attitude of I’ve got a long leash and I play my style. I realize there was a lot of clowning and joking a few years ago when the two all-star captains started selecting players. Kessel of course went last and I think his peers were saying something by picking him last.

            There is the debate about Phaneuf with fans but again his own peers have ranked him as the most over rated player.

            I think a new management really feels the pressure from the media and fans in big hockey markets such as Toronto, Vancouver and Boston. Some of the moves by these new G.M.’s reflect this pressure.

            I also think when a city has been mediocre so long there is a tendency to over rate players. Case in point are the New York Knicks who have not won the championship for 42 years. This season they drafted a clone of Andre Bargnani who was a total bust for the Raptors. Yet New York media and fans have been suggesting he had a great career in Toronto.

            The sudden lost of revenue after the leafs quit playing in the second half really hit home for M.L.S.E. , hence the speedy move to bring in a lot of very knowledgable and successful hockey people including the two time Olympic gold winning coach Mike Babcock.

            You and I know this is going to be a 3 to 4 year rebuilding task and quite frankly I hope the team tanks again next year to enable us to get another high draft pick with the priority being a top flight defenceman to pair with Reilly.

          • TGT23

            Okay, listen, you can’t be named the most overrated player more than once. Once someone is deemed overrated, they can no longer be overrated. Just like by mentioning someone is underrated you then rate them higher and they cannot be underrated.

            Also, players pole? Really? That’s the basis we’re using for that? A pole taken amongst a community who don’t like a specific subsection of that community are asked to vote on who they dislike the least.

            And we’re to accept these numbers as proof of talent?

            You’re reaching…

            Also, you’re reaching on your “statistical analysis” of the success of 1st rounders vs. 2nd rounders. As someone else rightly pointed out, the difference between 24 and 32 is very small. And adding extra picks adds more chances to land an NHL player, not less. Had they traded their top 5 pick then yes, you’d be right, but not because they moved down from 24.

            The only thing you’re really right about is the last thing. 3-4 years, there will be pain, hopefully they don’t mess it up by becoming a mid-tier team too quickly and don’t get another Top 5 pick or two.

    • Dawgfan1980

      Alright, lets go with your numbers anyway.

      1 pick @ 80%

      or

      1 pick @ 44%
      2 pick @ 30% (60%) total

      So, by trading down, I have a 104% chance of having 50 NHL games from the three players, while by staying at 24, you’d have an 80% chance.

      You’re right, seems very logical to me.

      • FlareKnight

        Hey, remember when Buffalo had the best chance to select first overall but didn’t select first overall.

        Percentages don’t guarantee anything but having more opportunity (picks) increases the percentage of success.

        I’ll use my very simple argument to counter your overly simple one – the pick(s) will either play 50 games or not (50/50%) Toronto increased from 1 50/50 chance with the 24th to 3 50/50 chances by trading it…

        • Dawgfan1980

          I think we are arguing the same point.

          W48Y argument was that by moving down from a first round pick to a second and two thirds, we lessened our chances of having a player play 50 games for the leafs. My argument was that, no, you now have three chances at the odds. Odds are, that in a given average year, the Leafs would have had 50 games played by the three draft picks combined, a 108% chance.

          I understand how percentages and ratios work. I understand that in fact, the odds of having three players hit with the numbers (that are based off a very short NHL career versus say the 200 game threshold that the PCS metric has been using) provided are about 4% for all three to play 50 games.

          The idea that trading down from 24 to 29 and then again trading down was a poor choice is the one I was debunking. I think we both agree that the value at 24 compared to the value of the three picks we ended up getting is not equal and the more “lotto tickets” you get, the better off you are.

          I’d hasten though that in weighting all the picks evenly as you did in the scenario you presented is a bit disingenuous as it ignores the years of data that show that later round picks do not have as good an average of making the league.

    • Jeremy Ian

      The calculations are based averages per cohort, not probabilities for each individual increment. If the data were tabulated per individual ranking, it would be a more meaningful for the kind of claim you want to make.

      Moving from 24th to 34th does not leap you from 88% to a 44% probability; it’s the COHORT group that does.

      This is pretty simple statistics.

      Besides, you left out the part about moving from 24th also meant picking up more bodies with some chance of making the NHL.

  • FlareKnight

    At the rate the Leafs are acquiring players…they better start signing them to 6 month contracts 😉

    Where the heck will be room for Bozak, Kadri, etc.?

    I will be surprised if the Leafs make the playoffs. I have yet to notice any impact players appearing. The Leafs now have a sound second, third, and fourth line imo.

    Hopefully some of these guys will be traded for some immediate noteworthy players after this upcoming season.

    Getting a 50 goal scorer should be priority imo.

    • CMpuck

      C.M. for leaf fans under 54, there hasn’t been a hell of a lot of fun as the last 48 decades have indicated. But then again New York Knick and Chicago Cub fans have lived through decades of mediocrity.

      Leaf fans you are not alone in suffering and watching the Stanley Cup from a distance.

      Will the new eager beaver management succeed where others have failed. Well now that will be fun C.M.

      • CMpuck

        Who can argue that the Leafs have been Knicks like misery for the last two decades.

        Was hoping for a Kessel trade homerun because we’re the idiots that have been gifting home run trades to other franchises for the entire cap era. No matter the side of the coin Leafs management lose.

        Tell the truth about the Leafs fan experience and get hated for it.

        • Gary Empey

          Well tell us how you would of handled the Kessel trade. He had a limited no trade contract. These are the eight teams you could deal with.

          Boston; Chicago; Los Angeles; Minnesota; Montreal; New York Rangers; Philadelphia; and Pittsburgh.

          All eight teams are currently facing significant cap challenges. For any one of them to acquired a player who’s signed through 2021-22 with a cap hit of $8 million, they’d need to shed some serious salary in the process.

          Show where there is a home run there.

          • TGT23

            You people can’t have it both ways.

            You can’t spend months calling Kessel fat and terrible and demanding he be traded for whatever the team can get.

            And then once he’s traded act like Kessel is a premium piece and the team didn’t get enough for him.

            The trade isn’t fantastic, but you’d have whined had they turned it down and kept Kesselbinto the season.

            When he wasn’t moved at the draft people just like you and other-CM were complaining that the rebuild was a sham because they didn’t move him for anything.

            You’re trying to have it both ways. You can’t.

  • jasken

    I dont get why people are upset with Kessel trade nor do I get why their upset at this team. When you take over a company you are not responsible for anything they did in the past. They are responsible for what they do now there is nothing that suggests they wont improve this team actually everything Shanny has done has said they will.

    You dont like the trade what did you think you would get for a pure goal scorer. He has no other assets other than scoring he’s not some highly sought after with all these intangibles he has no leadership qualities he is part of a bigger picture an added piece for a contender that is all he is. They gave up 3 draft picks for him and got what 3 players back less because of age and term than anything else.

  • SEER

    Wow .. You guys can be really harsh…

    It would be a boring world, if we all thought exactly the same…

    Santo & Raymond played well here.. and for really cheap..