Daniel Winnik is a solid fourth line forward, no more and no less. This isn’t an insult; it’s a compliment. A team can confidently pencil Winnik in on their fourth line wing and not have to worry about whether he’s going to be able to do the job.
But the Caps can’t afford to pay $2.5 million per season for a fourth-liner anymore, so Winnik’s time in DC is likely over.
|12:55||time on ice per game|
|51.8||5-on-5 shot-attempt percentage, adjusted|
|62.3||5-on-5 goal percentage, adjusted|
About this visualization: This series of charts made by Micah Blake McCurdy of hockeyviz.com shows various metrics for the player over the course of the 2016-17 season. A short description of each chart:
The NHL has changed over the last few seasons in that teams no longer use their third line as a checking line. Instead, many teams deploy three scoring lines. As the game evolves and teams look to further exploit inefficiencies in the market, this trend may eventually spread to the fourth line as well. But for now a fourth line is not heavily depended on for producing offense so, in my mind, there are a few key things a fourth liner needs to do to be considered successful.
Winnik was part of a fourth line that did a bang up job with number one, outscoring the opponent when they were on the ice. With number 26 on the ice, the Caps scored 62.5 percent of the goals at 5-on-5. There were some likely unsustainable percentages at play here, as Winnik shot 14.6 percent last season, well above his career mark of 6.8 percent. Caps’ goalies also stopped a heavenly 94.7 percent of shots when Winnik was on the ice. But, the bottom line is the Caps scored 62.5 percent of the goals when their fourth-line winger was on the ice. This isn’t just good; it’s downright outstanding.
The Caps were also above water in shot attempts when Winnik was on the ice as he posted a 51.6 shot attempt percentage. Again, any team should be content if they break even when their fourth line is on the ice. Given that, the Caps should be thrilled that the ice was tilted when Winnik was out there this season.
Winnik was a key part of the PK in 2016-17. He played 181 minutes on the PK, second only to Jay Beagle. The Caps didn’t post spectacular numbers in terms of goals and shots against with Winnik on the PK, but they were respectable enough.
It’s hard to find much negative to say about Winnik. He has a great beard, skates like the wind, and provided the Caps with very steady play on the fourth line during his time here. While zero goals in 25 playoff games leaves a lot to be desired, there are plenty of players more deserving of the blame for the playoff failures than Winnik.
K. Let’s take a tour of the bulldogs.
What did you think of Winnik’s time in DC? What do you like more about him, his dogs or his beard?
Read more: Japers’ Rink, Stars and Sticks
Headline photo: Amanda Bowen
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.