Okay, so selling 2016 Daniel Winnik isn’t exactly as
exciting as selling 2015 Daniel Winnik. There won’t be a second and a fourth to
be had here, but you could very well still find a Zach Sill type throw-in
I wouldn’t have even considered Winnik to be someone the
Leafs could or would sell at the deadline. He has just 13 points so far this
season, his 47.4 CF% is third worst among Leafs forwards, and he carries
another year of term at $2.25M AAV (though his salary next season will only be $1.8M).
There could be a market for the banged up Winnik, and there’s
little doubt that the Leafs are exploring all options, it’s just Winnik doesn’t
stand the chance of bringing too much back in the way of return for the Leafs.
SAN JOSE SHARKS
A lot of the reason for speculating on the Sharks is attributed
to Winnik being the type of complimentary player that Pete DeBoer is prone to
valuing, and the Sharks aren’t exactly in the middle of a youth movement
Winnik gives the Sharks another option similar to Joel Ward,
potentially giving them a tougher, but talented bottom six to go along with
their strong top six.
The Sharks may be interested in Winnik as well because they
have no shortage of contracts they’d like to jettison. After Raffi Torres
claiming waivers, and Mike Brown still being employed in 2016, it seems
reasonable the discarding a useless overpaid bottom six forward for a more
useful one may be a good idea.
Unfortunately that kind of swap isn’t enough to bring in any
of the more interesting prospect returns like Jeremy Roy, Timo Meier, Rourke
Chartier or Nikolay Goldobin, but they have some younger, cheaper pieces that
the Leafs could potentially use like Barclay Goodrow, and Nikita Jevpalovs.
Potential Trade Pieces:
F Barclay Goodrow; F Nikita Jevpalovs
Dumps: Raffi Torres (1yr, $2M); Mike Brown (1yr, $1.2M); Ben Smith (1yr,
The reasons for liking the Stars as a potential destination
for Winnik are very similar to why he’d make sense in San Jose, there’s already
a number of veteran bottom six players present there, and Winnik would be an
upgrade over many of them.
The Stars have done surprising well with Patrick Eaves and
Vernon Fiddler, but upgrading to Winnik over Travis Moen makes some sense,
especially if Moen or Hemsky go the other way back to Toronto.
The idea of acquiring Hemsky as a salary dump should be
somewhat appealing for the Leafs. His extra year on his contract make him a
prime candidate, like Milan Michalek, to be dealt at the next deadline while allowing
the Leafs to ice team that at least looks like an NHL team on paper.
If the Leafs go that route they are likely opening themselves
up to the possibility of a bigger return, but like with San Jose, a deal of
Winnik for a pick or prospect straight up would yield an underwhelming return
and would take prospects like Dickinson and Faksa off the table. No matter who
the Leafs would trade to Dallas, there’s no point in pretending they’d give up
Pieces: D Stephen Johns; F Brett Ritchie; F Brett Pollock; F Remi Elie
Dumps: Ales Hemsky (2yr,$4M); Travis Moen (1yr,$1.8M)
It seems weird to be talking about the Florida Panthers
gearing up for a playoff run, but they are and Winnik might be a decent fit for
If you exclude Jagr and Brian Campbell, the Panthers start
looking like a fairly young group. You can’t count on Bolland to be healthy,
and Shawn Thornton isn’t someone you’d seriously dress in a playoff game, so
the question is, “does Dale Tallon value veterans?”
From what we’ve seen, he does, and Winnik might be one of
the more affordable options to fit what he’s doing, as well as giving him a
player for next season who carries a cap hit that’s greater than his actual
salary, something that’s usually a plus for Florida.
For years the Panthers have been the land of untold riches
as far as prospects go, but with Winnik being the player being dealt, and the
fact that Florida relies on cheap entry level deals to fill out their roster
and keep costs down, it’s going to be a challenge to get a substantial player.
Pieces: F Connor Brickley; F Jayce Hawryluk
Dumps: Shawn Thornton (1yr,$1.2M)
NEW JERSEY DEVILS
If the Devils are considering making a playoff push, it
wouldn’t be surprising to watch them add a few safer options to their lineup at
the trade deadline. I certainly wouldn’t expect them to be full blown buyers.
The most interesting thing about the Devils is that almost
their entire forward group will be free agents this summer. Henrique, Zajac,
and Cammalleri are returning and they’ve got a few RFAs likely to return, but
bringing in a guy with term, who is cheaper than his term next season is about
as safe a bet as you can make at the trade deadline.
The Devils aren’t so deep on prospects that they’d give up
much or anything for Winnik. What I’d expect instead is that Winnik goes to the
Devils for a 3rd, and the Leafs in turn give that third back to the
Devils as compensation for hiring Lou Lamoriello. I suggest this because it
seems like the most Lou Lamoriello thing to do ever.
Pieces: 3rd Round Pick
Dumps: Tuomo Ruutu (1yr, $3.8M)
At this point the only people who know Jimmy Vesey’s true
intentions about signing in Nashville are probably the Predators, and Vesey’s
family (Leafs have two family members in their organization by the way) and if
his intention is to pursue free agency (aka sign in Toronto) it’s probably best
for the Predators to at least grab something for his rights on the way out the
I only bring it up because Sportsnet was willing to go to
this length to show it as a possibility.
Leafs get everyone! pic.twitter.com/tvrzNQurSO
— James Mirtle (@mirtle) February 10, 2016
Since Vesey was a third round pick and there won’t be
compensation for him not signing with Nashville, it’s pretty much in the Preds
best interest to get anything they can from the team that he will sign with. If
the Leafs are feeling generous they could even rescue the Preds from paying
Paul Gaustad the rest of the year.
Pieces: F Jim Vesey
Dump: Paul Gaustad (1yr, $3.25)