While having always been talented, the Phoenix Coyotes’ draftee Daniel Winnik is finding his greatest success this shorten season with the Anaheim Ducks.
Having bounced around from team to team the last few seasons with stops in Phoenix, Colorado and San Jose, Winnik seemed destined to just be a 10-goal scorer that found shelter in organizations for a couple of seasons before moving on to the next one.
Signing a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks during the offseason for $3.6 million, Winnik continued his stay in the Western Conference. Now participating in a season that has seen highly offensive goal scores struggle, Winnik has seemed to shake off any sort of rust that may have been accumulating on his play during the lockout.
Five games into this season, the 27-year old forward is averaging a goal a game with 7 points on this year already.
“It’s exactly what they need. He’s a powerful skater,” former goalie Brian Hayward told ESPN.com. “He’s making really good plays. If he continues to go to the net with the aggressiveness he’s shown in the first two games he’s going to continue to get points.”
Not one to ponder his recent success too much, Winnik told ESPN that the chemistry of the team and himself was just instant and lent a major hand in his goal scoring. While just now turning heads around the National Hockey League, head coach Bruce Boudreau has already made note and began rewarding Winnik handsomely.
His reward? The Ducks’ top line, sharing ice time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. A far cry from the Winnik that many saw in past seasons.
While Daniel Winnik’s play thus far has been great, the true test will be down the stretch when the 48 games in 99 days schedule begins to weight on the player.