Sharks spotlight: Daniel Winnik

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Sharks spotlight: Daniel Winnik

Editor's note: Over the next month, CSNCalifornia.com Sharks Insider Kevin Kurz and Postgame Live reporter Brodie Brazil will evaluate the 2011-12 performance of each player on the roster. One breakdown will occur every weekday in numerical order.

Sharks spotlight -- the series
Sharks spotlight: Daniel WinnikAge: 27 F

Daniel Winnik was acquired by the Sharks at the trade deadline, and had two goals and three assists for five points and 10 penalty minutes in 21 games. In 84 games total between the Sharks and Avalanche, Winnik had eight goals and 15 assists for 23 points. In five playoff games, Winnik had one assist.
Kurz says: Although the trade to bring in Winnik seemed to derail the Sharks already thin offense at the time, the big winger did provide good energy and physicality on the teams third and fourth lines. Unfortunately, though, Winnik wasnt able to help the Sharks penalty killing, which was one of the reasons he was acquired along withTJ Galiardi in exchange for Jamie McGinn. Winnik was used to a much more aggressive PK philosophy in Colorado, while San Jose had a much more passive, technical approach something thats expected to change before next season.

SLIDESHOW: Grading the Sharks

Brodie says: Of all San Joses acquisitions this season, Winnik had among the least amount of time to acclimate to the team, but also took the least duration to do exactly that. His minutes in 26 total games for the Sharks were steady, but fluctuated: logging as few as 9-10, and as many as 17. Still, a lesser amount than the 18-20 he was regularly skating in Colorado.

Winnik is listed as 62, 210 lbs, but seemed to play much bigger than that. Although Id prefer to use fancy, eloquent words here: the best way to describe Dans game, is that he just flat out plays hard. Lots of skating, and lots of body-work below the dots in the offensive zone. And in that same vein, he brings a certain simplicity: a 2-way player who is strong on the puck and responsible in both ends of the ice.

Interesting fact: Winnik was the only player in the NHL to tally 84 games this season. Cody Hodgson played 83 with Vancouver and Buffalo. Ninety-seven other skaters played in 82 games for their respective teams.

2012-13 expectations

Kurz says: If the Sharks do in fact change their philosophy on the penalty kill, keeping the unrestricted free agent-to-be would make sense. Winnik is a guy that can bring energy to the bottom two lines, as the Sharks witnessed in his brief time here, as well as allow top players to rest while the team is shorthanded. Winnik certainly appeared to enjoy San Jose, but at the same time, is probably tempted to test the open market for the first time in his career. Hes not a guy thats going to command a huge salary, of course, but it only takes two teams to up the price.

Furthermore, you have to wonder if theres extra incentive for the Sharks to ink Winnik to an extension, in that the McGinn trade will look that much worse if he walks.

Related: Winniks stats splits game logs
Brodie says: While difficult to judge the full scope of Winniks potential in San Jose after just one-quarter of a season, the team would be best off to find out for the course of a full schedule long as both parties can agree to a mutually beneficial contract. As mentioned, hes a player who could help impose that new aggressive style on the Penalty Kill, in addition to his Clowe-esque game at even strength. In essence, he is the kind of depth forward the Sharks are looking to acquire, so why not utilize Winnik instead of continuing the search?

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

NHL Gameday: Sharks go for fifth straight win in only visit to Colorado

Programming note – Sharks-Avalanche coverage starts today at 6:00 p.m. on NBCSN

WHERE THEY STAND

Sharks: 29-16-2, 60 points, 2nd Pacific Division
Avalanche: 13-29-2, 28 points, 7th Central Division

PREGAME NEWS AND NOTES

***Tonight’s game is the second of a home-and-home for the Sharks and Avalanche, after San Jose’s 3-2 win in overtime at SAP Center on Saturday, and the final game of the season series. David Schlemko got the deciding score 1:18 into the extra frame, as the Sharks improved to 6-1-1 in their last eight against Colorado.

The Sharks have won four straight, while Colorado, just 2-14-1 in its last 17, has lost five in a row. The Avs have not won in regulation since Dec. 11 at Toronto.

***Colorado will reportedly give rookie Spencer Martin his second straight start after he made 27 saves in his NHL debut against the Sharks on Saturday. 

Martin Jones is tied for third in the NHL with 24 wins, and is 5-1-0 in his last six starts.

***Four of the Sharks’ last six games have been decided by one goal, including three in a row. San Jose is 16-10-2 in one-goal games – the second most one-goal wins in the league, and the most one-goal losses in regulation.

KEEP AN EYE ON...

Sharks: Kevin Labanc. The Sharks rookie has hit a bit of a wall since bursting onto the scene, going without a goal for the last 10 games. Coach Pete DeBoer said recently that he had a talk with the rookie about maintaining a high level of play, and Labanc has been more noticeable in his last two games, recording an assist in each. The 21-year-old has 14 points (7g, 7a) in 34 games this season.

Avalanche: Nathan MacKinnon. No forward was more effective for Colorado on Saturday against the Sharks than MacKinnon, their lone All-Star, who recorded a game-high seven shots and set up the tying goal in the third period. The first pick in the 2013 draft has 10 points (7g, 3a) in 10 career games when opposing San Jose, and is Colorado’s leading scorer with 32 points (11g, 21a).

PROBABLE LINES

Sharks
Patrick Marleau – Joe Thornton – Joe Pavelski
Joonas Donskoi – Logan Couture – Mikkel Boedker
Kevin Labanc – Chris Tierney – Joel Ward
Timo Meier – Tommy Wingels – Melker Karlsson

Paul Martin – Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic – Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon – David Schlemko

Martin Jones 
Aaron Dell

Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen – Nathan Mackinnon – Mikhail Grigorenko
Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Matt Nieto
Blake Comeau – Carl Soderberg – Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen – John Mitchell – Joe Colborne

Francois Beauchemin – Cody Goloubef
Fedor Tyutin – Nikita Zadorov
Patrick Wiercioch – Eric Gelinas

Spencer Martin (starter)
Calvin Pickard

INJURIES

Sharks: Micheal Haley (lower body), Dylan DeMelo (broken wrist) and Tomas Hertl (right knee sprain) are out.

Avalanche: Tyson Barrie (lower body) and Rene Bourque (lower body) are day-to-day. Semyon Varlamov (groin) and Erik Johnson (broken fibula) are out.

QUOTEABLE

“I felt we did a pretty good job in our end, [but] we probably played there a little too much. We didn’t execute as well as we wanted to coming out of our end or through the neutral zone. There’s going to be games like that and it’s good to find a way to win.” – David Schlemko, after Saturday’s win

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

Three takeaways: Sharks make life easy on Avs rookie goalie

SAN JOSE – It took overtime for the Sharks to surpass the worst team in the NHL, but the points are valuable any way they come in the second half. Here are our three takeaways from the 3-2 victory on Saturday night…

1 – Top guys struggle, but depth comes through

It wasn’t a very good night for the captain’s line, which was particularly sloppy on Colorado’s tying goal in the third period. Brent Burns and Marc-Edouard Vlasic weren’t much better, as the former was caught out of position a couple times, and the latter was tagged with six giveaways.

But those guys have been playing the bulk of the minutes lately, so they’re allowed to have an off night. At least, that’s how Pete DeBoer saw it.

“We've ridden our big guys pretty hard,” DeBoer said. “They played some tough minutes with some of the opponents we played this week, in L.A. and on and on. Tonight's a night you're looking for your depth guys to step up and give you some energy, and I thought we got that."

The Sharks’ fourth line was probably its best from start to finish, including Melker Karlsson’s goal, from Ryan Carpenter.

“[Tomas] Hertl's missed 30 games, so we needed somebody to come in and help us out in that area, and he's done that,” DeBoer said of Carpenter.

2 – Making it too easy on Martin

Spencer Martin was making his NHL debut in difficult circumstances, playing in front of what has been an incredibly loose team in its own end against one of the best teams in the Western Conference. But, the Sharks made it easy on him most of the night.

Avs forward Nathan MacKinnon, who had a tremendous game, told the Denver Post that he thought Colorado was the better team.

“Tonight, we outplayed them,” he said. “We outplayed the team that went to the (Stanley Cup) Finals last year, and there were some bright spots for us. We have to climb out of this hole and have a good last 30, 40 games here and go into next season feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

They’ll get another chance against the Sharks on Monday at Pepsi Center as the teams conclude their two-game season series. San Jose will try and give the Colorado goalie, whoever it is, a more difficult time.

“When we’re on our game, we’re making it tough with grind time and traffic at the net, some chances,” Joe Pavelski said. “Tonight we didn’t have as many as we could have had. We’ll try to find a little bit more for next game.”

Schlemko said: “We just didn’t have as much grind time in the o-zone as we usually do. If you’re not playing in their end you’re usually playing in your end.”

3 – Ward gets another on the power play

Joel Ward’s resurgence continues, as the forward again found a way to contribute on the scoresheet. His first period power play goal was one of the easier scores he’ll have, on a nice setup by Joe Thornton.

“[Thornton] had it behind the net and came around the side, and sent it to me on the far side, so it went in,” Ward said.

The 36-year-old Ward has nine points (3g, 6a) in his last 13 games. To put that in perspective, the last time he was a healthy scratch on Dec. 20, he had just nine points in 31 games on the season.