Capitals fans late Sunday/early Monday morning were jolted by the news that Capitals mainstay center Brooks Laich had been dealt to Toronto along with Connor Carrick with a 2016 second round pick in exchange for Daniel Winnik and Toronto’s 2016 fifth round pick.
While many conceded that the trade for Laich had to be done, it still doesn’t sit right with many Capitals fans. After all, Brooks Laich was a mainstay at center ice for approximately 11 years for Washington, had a lot of class with many random acts of kindness, and also brought a touch of Hollywood to DC with his famous fiancée, Julianne Hough.
With that in mind, just who is Daniel Winnik? Why were the Capitals so intent on acquiring him?
One glance at Winnik’s career numbers (625 games played, 62 goals and 136 assists) would cause one to pause and think this was not a wise move by the Capitals. However; Winnik has the reputation to be a tight checker and plays a strong defensive game, just like Laich.
But why Winnik? Weren’t the Capitals just fine with Laich? Sure he had lost a step a little, and yes, he was a bit older, but why?
As stated before, Winnik brings a tight checking, defense first game. Winnik gives the Capitals a strong penalty killer at the center position, who is a bit younger and can give the Capitals a bit of versatility at center as well, as Winnik played on all four lines in his time with Toronto.
What else can Winnik bring to the table that Laich could not? As discussed earlier, Winnik was very versatile playing on all four lines of Toronto, helping out on the penalty kill, and brought a tight checking game that was much-needed in Toronto. Winnik will give Capitals fans a full 60- minute effort every night.
While all of these are great traits the Capitals will need as they go into the playoffs, but who is he?
Daniel Spencer Winnik was born March 6, 1985 in Toronto, Ontario. He credits his father for getting him into hockey at a young age, and worked odd jobs such as at a grocery store during the summer when he was younger, and even worked as security guard after he was drafted to play in the AHL and even making it to the NHL. He has always been captivated by the field of political science, and says that “(liking political science is) probably why I’ve always been involved in the labor negotiations with the NHLPA.”
While Winnik loves politics, he also loves Ping-Pong. Just last year, Winnik played in a Ping-Pong tournament hosted by New York Rangers center Dominic Moore, with the proceeds going to concussion research.
Finally, Ping-Pong may be a passion of Winnik, he loves his pets very much. While Winnik may not have the Hollywood significant other like Laich, Winnik’s wife Taylor, is quite accomplished in her own right as she holds a Bachelor’s degree from Santa Clara University.
As the similarities between Laich and Winnik are there, the Capitals have picked up a solid-two way forward that may just be the final piece of the puzzle the team needs to win the Stanley Cup.
By Andrea Sobolik