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Capitals and Daniel Winnik

July 26, 2017, 4:33 PM ET [26 Comments]
James Tanner
Washington Capitals Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Washington Captials are seemingly in hibernation.

They have not made a move since trading Marcus Johansson to the Devils for a bucket of nickles earlier in the summer. Perhaps GM Brian MacLellan is in hiding as that transaction was met with extreme negativity.

Capitals fans and analysts alike struggled to explain how the Capitals mismanaged their cap and the expansion draft so poorly that they had to move a player of Johansson's abilities for next to nothing.

Despite not having much cap-space to work with, the Capitals are still in need of several players to fill out their roster - replacements for Johansson, Winnik, Williams and Schmidt. This brings me to today's topic: Daniel Winnik.

As far as I know, the Capitals did not really try to re-sign Winnik, with the assumption that his $1.5 million salary could be cut since he plays on the fourth line. I think this is foolish because one strength that propelled the Capitals to back-to-back President's Trophies was that their fourth line was among the best in the league.

Winnick score 20 even-strength points last year and had a p/60 of 1.6 - which was better than Corey Perry, Ryan Strome or David Backes.

The line of Wilson, Winnik and Beagle was one of the only 4th lines to regularly post a +50% possession rating. Since most team's 4th line don't win the shot advantage, this was an edge the Capitals got in essentially every game. It's slight maybe, but it adds up.

If the Capitals are forced to use replacement players on their fourth line and they promote Wilson up the lineup while losing Winnik, they're going to lose an extra couple games next year because of it.

Considering no one has yet signed him, it's possible Winnik won't get much of a raise and that the Capitals could re-sign him. It seems unlikely at this point but he's likely the best available option at this time.

Winnik is one of the best fourth liners in hockey and the Capitals could really use him back. If not, he'll be missed.
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