The Pittsburgh Penguins bolstered their penalty-killing unit by acquiring Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday.
Bidding for their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals since 2009, the Pittsburgh Penguins acquired veteran forward Daniel Winnik from the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday in exchange for forward Zach Sill, a fourth-round pick in this June’s draft and a second-round pick in 2016.
An unrestricted free agent after this season, Winnik has scored seven goals and 25 points in 58 games with Toronto, which finally came to terms with Pittsburgh after the two teams had off and on negotiations over the previous 10 days. The talks intensified during the last 48 hours, sitting the stage for Winnik to leave Toronto less than one season after he signed a free-agent deal with the Leafs last summer.
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Winnik, a native of Toronto, has been impressive on the penalty kill this season, as he leads all NHL forwards with 200 minutes 19 seconds of ice time. Pittsburgh is fifth in the league in the category and will now be further bolstered by the addition of Winnik, who also led Toronto with a plus-15 rating.
The Penguins were able to beat out a host of teams who had also shown strong interest in Winnik. Toronto reportedly will retain half of the $1.3 million Winnik will earn this season.
Pittsburgh is currently third in the Metropolitan Division with 77 points and is tied with Detroit for the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference.
In Sill, the Leafs acquire a 26-year-old who has three goals and 60 penalty minutes in 42 games this season. He has played in 60 NHL games while spending much of the past several years bouncing back and forth between Pittsburgh and the Pens’ American Hockey League affiliate.
The trading of Winnik is the second deal in the last 10 days for the Leafs, who previously moved defenseman Cody Franson and forward Mike Santorelli, who were shipped to Nashville.
Currently residing at 14th in the Eastern Conference, the Leafs may be far from finished as next Monday’s trade deadline looms. Toronto has been rumored to move forward Joffrey Lupul, with the Montreal Canadiens a possible candidate. The two teams have reportedly been in discussions of a potential blockbuster, as the Canadiens are in the market for extra offensive firepower.
Jonathan Bernier is also a top target for contenders, but the Leafs are uncertain as to whether they will put him on the trading block or look to offering an extension to the restricted free agent.
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