Daniel Winnik’s Hot Start An Unexpected Surprise For Anaheim Ducks

Daniel Winnik Ducks

Anne-Marie Sorvin – USA TODAY Sports

The Anaheim Ducks sit second in the Pacific Division with a 3-1-1 record, and have taken at least a point from four of their first five games. The team also ranks eighth in the league in goals scored heading into a game against the Minnesota Wild Friday night. A look at the team leaderboard raises a few eyebrows, though, as it is not Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry or Bobby Ryan on top, but journeyman center Daniel Winnik.

Winnik has five goals and seven points through the Ducks’ first five games, which ties him with Saku Koivu for the team lead in points. He has three more goals than anyone else on the team, and while he is unlikely to keep up this scoring pace for an entire season, his sudden hot streak has helped the Ducks defeat the Vancouver Canucks, Calgary Flames and Nashville Predators.

Winnik’s career high for goals in a season is 11, with the Phoenix Coyotes in 2007-08 and the Colorado Avalanche in 2010-11. Last season he scored eight goals and reached 23 points while playing in 84 games for the Avalanche and the San Jose Sharks. His $1.8 million salary seems like a bargain at this point, and with Getzlaf and Perry set to become free agents at the end of the season and Koivu and Teemu Selanne likely to retire, at least gives the Ducks a reliable option moving forward. Time will tell if this is a career season for Winnik or just a really lucky week.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL blogger for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @JKatje or add him to you network on Google.

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