Within the upcoming week, Anaheim Ducks left winger Daniel Winnik will become a free agent, but if the team is smart in figuring out ways to improve their playoff chances for next season, GM Bob Murray needs to figure out a way to keep Winnik on the roster.
During the 2013-14 regular season, Winnik scored six goals with 24 assists for a combined 30 points — the most for the 29-year-old during his almost 10-year career in the NHL. The numbers only further prove Winnik is nowhere near having past his peak potential in this league, especially in his current position with the Ducks.
This past season, Winnik played on the Ducks’ fourth line alongside Nick Bonino and Kyle Palmieri, each both incredibly talented players in their own rights. Anaheim’s depth on offense is one of the strengths Murray has built into this team, and Winnik and the gang play an essential part of that, offering secondary scoring whenever necessary.
Winnik also brings size and grit when both are lacking in Anaheim. The Ducks are known for their offensive speed, which is never a bad thing. But matched up against a hard-hitting team such as the Los Angeles Kings in the playoffs, the Ducks’ flaws were badly exposed.
The size issue has always been a “weakness” for the Ducks and Murray seems okay with this. The GM isn’t out to rebuild his team, and he shouldn’t be; but what he should be setting out to do this summer is keep what works and to bring in talent to build support to an already well-rounded lineup. Winnik is a talent Murray already has who works; he should keep him, so we can all see the potential of the Ducks’ “kid” line come this fall.