The Pittsburgh Penguins offense has been rolling along nicely over the past two games, and it looks like they’re about to get some more help.
Winnik should provide some added scoring punch and some size (6’2″, 207 lbs) to the Pens.
He’ll come at a manageable price too as, though Winnik is owed $1.3 million this season, the Toronto Maple Leafs have agreed to retain half of his salary.
Through 58 games this season, Winnik has posted 7 goals and 25 points. He won’t be one to put up big numbers offensively in Pittsburgh (his career-high in goals is 11), but Winnik should help bolster Pittsburgh’s bottom-six.
His play in the last week alone shows why Winnik will be such a valuable addition to the Pens. The scrappy winger recently led Toronto over the Winnipeg Jets in a 4-3 overtime win, posting a goal, assist, and fight for a Gordie Howe hat-trick.
According to now-former coach Peter Horachek, that’s not all Winnik brings to the table.
“He’s one of our best penalty killers, he’s able to play up and down the lineup, the left and right side (wings) … he got into that fight tonight and that’s necessary for guys to step up at the right times.” Horachek recently told The Star.
While the 2nd-round pick could end up being a steep price to pay, the Pens will surely take that risk, as Winnik could provide the boost in character, tenacity, and size that they desperately need to make a deep postseason run.
Past that, General Manager Jim Rutherford did not give up too much.
Sill, while respected as a great teammate, has been nothing to write home about for the Pens. In 42 games this season he’s posted 3 points while being under consideration as a healthy scratch as of late.
He can provide energy and toughness but, overall, Sill remains an AHL-level player.
With the Pens’ newly adjusted top-six looking elite once again, the team’s bottom-six has become the center of management’s focus.
Regardless of where Winnik slots in, the Pens will surely be glad to get some more help for their bottom-six, and an energetic role player like Winnik could be just what the Pens need to finally find postseason success.