Monumental - The Washington Capitals have acquired forward Daniel Winnik and a fifth-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft (Anaheim’s selection, previously acquired by Toronto) from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for forward Brooks Laich, defenseman Connor Carrick and a second-round selection in the 2016 NHL Draft, senior vice president and general manager Brian MacLellan announced today. Winnik, 30, has registered 198 points (62 goals, 136 assists) in 625 career NHL games with Arizona, Colorado, San Jose, Anaheim, Pittsburgh and Toronto. The 6’2”, 207-pound forward tallied 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in 56 games with the Maple Leafs this season. Winnik ranked second among NHL forwards in shorthanded time on ice per game last season (3:16) and set career highs in assists (25) and points (34).
And it officially happened. DC’s most tenured athlete, Brooks Laich, was traded last night to Toronto for forward Daniel Winnik. The Caps shed his 4.5 million dollar contract, as well as a 2nd round pick and prospect Connor Carrick, who you might remember had WAYYYYY too much playing time during the Adam Oates coaching season where they failed to make the playoffs.
Winnik is a big, capable forward who stats-wise is having a down year due to the lack of talent in Toronto. He’s a penalty killer and a 30 point/season guy, who immediately improves this team by replacing Brooks Laich who has battled injuries and lost his ability to be a productive NHL player. Straight up player for player, Winnik makes the Caps a better, stronger hockey club. The 2nd round pick thrown in stings, but that’s how you shed a 4.5 million dollar contract for a guy with 1 goal and 6 assists in 60 games this year. Gotta sweeten the pot a bit. Carrick might end up being a capable NHL defensemen- at 21 years old it’s too early to tell.
As I wrote before, moving on from Laich is sad but necessary. He’s been nothing but good to DC, to the media, his teammates, everyone. And crowd shots of his fiance Julianne Hough always were nice. Laich come to DC from Ottawa in the Peter Bondra deal…that’s how long he’s been here. It is a real bummer he is going from first to worst, but he’s one of those guys who will always be remembered fondly for the years he put in as a Capital.
PS: I drank RBVs and jumped on a podcast with Chief last Friday night. Went really well. We talked Caps and Hawks and other hockey shit. Have a listen on this leap day, it’s better than anything else you have going on.