Before heading to college in the states in the fall of 2003, Daniel Winnik spent three years working his way up through the local Ontario ranks, which included a year with Toronto Marlies in bantam, all the way up to his final year with the Wexford Raiders in the OPJHL.
2003-04: Played freshman year at the University of New Hampshire. Winnik was chosen in the ninth round, 265th overall, of the 2004 NHL Draft by the Phoenix Coyotes.
2004-05: Played sophomore year and for the WildCats and had a breakout season. He was the most dominant forward for the sophomore class at New Hampshire. He played on very talented team and handled his own at both ends of the ice.
2005-06: Returned for his junior year where he led the team in scoring for the majority of the season but was edged for the lead by his linemates. He left the Wildcats as one of the most dominant forwards in all of Hockey East as a junior.
2006-07: Made professional debut with the San Antonio Rampage in the AHL. W was twice demoted to the Roadrunners in the ECHL. Both stays weren’t long and he couldn’t find the touch that made him all-star caliber player he was when he left the Wildcats.
Winnik is a forward with excellent size who is tough to move off the puck. He has shown tremendous patience and confidence with the puck. He is excellent on faceoffs. He possesses good passing skills. He protects the puck quite well. He is a good skater with long and powerful strides. He possesses a long reach. He has good hockey sense and moves well through traffic. His play down low is also quite good.
Winnik was dealt by the Toronto Maple Leafs along with a fifth round pick to the Washington Capitals in exchange for Brooks Laich, Connor Carrick, and a second round pick.