The market for unrestricted free agents may be pretty thin these days, but one of the best available at this juncture was Daniel Winnik. That's past tense because he's been signed to a one-year deal with the Toronto Maple Leafs. According to Craig Custance of ESPN.com, the deal will pay Winnik $1.3 million.
This is a cheap, no-risk deal for the Maple Leafs to add a depth forward that actually could help the team improve and make the bottom six less of a liability than it has been in previous years.
Winnik put up 30 points with the upstart Anaheim Ducks last season, while averaging 15:23 of ice a night. He has good size at 6-2, 207, and though his possession numbers were slightly down last year, he's traditionally posted strong numbers in possession throughout his career despite being played in a lot of defensive situations.
That's going to help a Maple Leafs team that has been woeful when it comes to the puck possession battle, particularly at the bottom of the lineup.
The 29-year-old forward joins a team that has significantly re-stocked its bottom six lineup, creating quite the competition come training camp. This summer the Leafs have also brought on Mike Santorelli, David Booth, Petri Kontiola, Leo Komarov and traded for Matt Frattin. Throw in Peter Holland, Troy Bodie, Trevor Smith, Carter Ashton, David Clarkson and Colton Orr, there are a lot of guys looking for six spots. Where they all fit in now with Winnik in the mix is going to be interesting to watch play out. There's obviously not room for all of them.
Winnik actually looks like one of the safest bets in the group to make a play for a substantial role as a possible third-line player. Having a guy that can help the team in a position of need at minimal cost is a pretty good get for the Maple Leafs.
Winnik has 150 points over 490 career NHL games, which included stints with the Arizona Coyotes, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks and Ducks.
With yet another depth signing, it's going to make for an interesting training camp in Toronto this year as they look for vast improvement after last season's late-season collapse.