In Search of Support: Daniel Winnik and David Moss

The Oilers will look to acquire some depth on the wing for their forward group this summer. It just so happens that this year’s free agent crop will present management with a number of suitable candidates for the job(s).

It’s the time of year when everyone starts floating out their speculative depth charts for the 2014-2015 season—Jonathan Willis has been tackling the topic in a series of posts at Oilers Nation and Lowetide threw his hat in too. I thought I would join the party in a series of posts of my own, beginning with the one you’re reading now.

Starting at the Bottom

David Moss is a name that a lot of people are throwing out there as a nice solution to the Oiler’s lack of NHL caliber role players. While he still performed well as a possession player this past season, he’ll be turning 33 at the end of the year and is coming off the second worst point-per-game total of his career. That said, his offensive production seems to dip and rise almost like clock work. Still, one has to wonder when it’ll stop going back up again and keep to the valleys for good.

Moss made $2.1 million last season and I imagine he’ll fetch at least that as a UFA this summer.

Daniel Winnik, who just turned 29,  is younger than Moss and will probably be looking for a raise this summer after making $1.8 million for the last two seasons. He’s coming off two decent offensive seasons with the Ducks scoring 0.4 ppg in 2012-2013 and 0.39 ppg in 2013-2014.

Moss has a slight edge in size at 6’4″ 210lbs to Winnik’s 6’2″ 210 lbs as well as in physicality: he racked up 120 hits while Winnik managed 61.

David Moss Usage 2013-2014

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You’ll find Moss’ bubble right on the x axis. He saw pretty favourable zone starts and bottom six competition last season. The light blue colour of his bubble (Corsi Relative) is encouraging.

In 2012-2013, however, Moss saw below 40% offensive zone starts and tougher competition while managing 0.44 ppg. Compare that to this season’s 0.28 ppg and bells go off.

It all leads to the question: why did Moss’ offensive production see such a drop with just over 14 minutes of ice time a night and such comfortable deployment? While he’s far from the point of retirement, I do think age will soon become a factor in his case—if it hasn’t already.

Daniel Winnik Usage 2013-2014

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Winnik saw tough starts and competition in a shutdown role this past season and his bubble colour reflects it. Keep in mind that the only two players with blue bubbles in that same quadrant/area are Getzlaf and Perry.

Daniel Winnik Usage 2012-2013

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Now that looks like the player the Oilers need. In the lockout-shortened season, Winnik saw close to the worst zone starts on the team and some of the toughest competition. He still managed a blue bubble. Top that off with 0.4 ppg in 2012-2013 and you’ve got a good looking season.

Daniel Winnik, Colin Fraser

I think that Winnik would be a great addition for the Oilers this summer. At 29, he still has a lot left in the tank and he’s coming off his two best offensive seasons to date. He’s shown an ability to manage tough zone starts and competition and has decent size to boot.

This is the kind of player that could move up and down Edmonton’s lineup and really provide some depth and flexibility on the wing. If the Oilers brass has to make a choice between the two players we’ve just discussed this off-season, I’d hope for Winnik.


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