Penguins Land Winnik – Pittsburgh Penguins – PenguinPoop Blog

Penguins Land Winnik

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.

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  1. pen's 4ever's Gravatar pen's 4ever
    March 1, 2015 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    We don’t have a shot at the cup, not even contending. AS you have stated Rick, to weak at wing, overpaid for Perron ( I’m very mad at giving up a first rounder in this year’s draft) and now for Winnik, could have had Tlusty for a 3rd. The d-man are pushovers, Malkin has no one to play with, Kunitz and Comeau suck and we still have Adams, Sill is tougher and should have replaced him last year.
    All the changes and re-tooling in the off-season has not lead to a improved team

  2. February 28, 2015 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Winnik could have been signed as a UFA for cheap during the off-season. Giving up a 2nd and a 4th round draft for a 3rd-liner that is a pending UFA makes little sense. It would have been fine if this was the return for a player like Chris Stewart; not for Winnik though.

    Winnik is a penalty killing specialist who can chip in offensively. Nothing spectacular. I do like him more than Nick Spaling. That being said; they still need a legitimate heavyweight. Very frustrating not seeing any player respond to Tom Wilson. He was begging for a scrap the entire game. Shoving Malkin in the warm-up, taking multiple runs at different players.

    Anthony Peluso would be a nice acquisition. Skates well for a big man. Hits hard and is effective on the forecheck. Strong along the boards. Is a top-heavyweight fighter who does his role effectively. Winnipeg has plenty of toughness as it is. Chris Thorburn fills that hybrid-enforcer role for them. I can see him being available. Immediate upgrade over Adams.

    Don’t think that Rutherford is done. Just hoping he doesn’t trade away anymore futures. Would like to see a hockey trade. Chris Kunitz, Paul Martin, Rob Scuderi, Brandon Sutter, and Nick Spaling should all be available for the right price.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      March 1, 2015 at 2:27 am | Permalink

      Hey Chris,

      I wish the Penguins were tougher, too. While they managed to beat the Caps the other night, physically they got the crap kicked out of them. They might be able to withstand that type of punishment for a game here and there, but not for a seven-game set.

      It’s not that the Pens are timid. They’ve got lots of gritty guys who play hard. But there’s simply no one in the lineup capable of handling the kind of abuse the Caps dished out. Like Wilson baiting Malkin. Or Alex Ovechkin making road kill of Simon Despres. Or Joel Ward wreaking havoc in the crease while Christian Ehrhoff pretended not to notice.

      I’ll admit, I’m extra sensitive about this stuff. Over the years I’ve watched countless Penguins squads get brutalized by nasty teams like Philly and Boston, and it’s left a scar. But on a more practical level, it makes absolutely no sense to hang your star players out to dry.

      It’s especially disquieting to see the kind of abuse Kris Letang is absorbing, given his history of head injuries. It’s only going to get worse in the playoffs, when the refs tend to put the whistles away. You might as well paint a bulls-eye on “Tanger’s” jersey.

      Steve Downie’s as game as they come, but he’s no real deterrent. Ditto Robert Bortuzzo, who’s faded as a physical force after absorbing two beatings from Jordan Tootoo.

      I agree…the Pens could really use a hybrid enforcer like Peluso.

  3. 55 on point's Gravatar 55 on point
    February 26, 2015 at 11:21 pm | Permalink

    While Winnik is a nice pick up, I do think Sill and two picks was a steep price for a one-point-something million, bottom-six-type UFA, even with the Leafs paying half his fare.

    • Rick Buker's Gravatar Rick Buker
      February 27, 2015 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

      I agree. A very steep price to pay.

      The Pens are in a Catch-22. They needed to get players like Perron and Winnik in order to have a shot at the Cup. But they keep hemorrhaging draft picks. High ones.

      Combined with the paucity of forward talent in the Pens’ developmental pipeline, it paints a potentially bleak picture (remember the early 2000s?) for the future.

      • Jim's Gravatar Jim
        February 28, 2015 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

        Agreed. The depth of talent in the Pen’s minor system is very, very weak compared with other division rivals.We are in a” no win” situation,in that we want to win now,but this team as it is currently configured can not win the cup ! In a seven game physical series we can not compete.The weakness comes from our two star centers and their inability to perform as expected in a physical contact series.Nobody wants to blame them, but after five years of being beaten by lesser rated teams in the playoffs, it is pretty clear where the problem’s are…Firing the Coach is not one of them.

        Until we address this situation we will continue to fall in the standings as our conference competitors get stronger. The Pens future is definitely trending downwards unless we start to get higher levels of draft picks and develop our own young talent.


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