Determined to get a jump on the March 2 trade deadline, GM Jim Rutherford moved boldly yesterday to reinforce the Penguins’ bottom six for a postseason run. JR dealt a fourth-round pick in 2015, a second-round pick in 2016, and rugged forward Zach Sill to Toronto for forward Daniel Winnik.
The swap capped off prolonged negotiations between Rutherford and his counterpart, Dave Nonis, which began in earnest last month.
Standing 6’2” and weighing 213 pounds, Winnik adds some much-needed brawn, along with a reputation for responsible play and exceptional penalty killing. In 58 games with Toronto, the eight-year NHL vet tallied seven goals and 25 points, along with 99 hits. Perhaps his most impressive stat—a sterling plus-15—far and away topped the moribund Leafs.
Winnik’s versatility is a big plus, too.
“Wherever they want me to play, I’ll play,” he said. “If they want me to play right wing, left wing or center, I can play all three positions.”
A feisty role player, Sill provided speed and toughness for the black and gold, but little in the way of offense. While popular with his teammates, the Nova Scotia native was a frequent scratch in recent weeks.
Both Winnik, 29, and Sill, 26, are slated to become UFAs this summer.
Along with the exchange of players and draft picks, Toronto agreed to pick up half of Winnik’s $1.3 million salary.