Late last week it was reported that Geneve-Servette HC of the NLA in Switzerland were working hard to extend veteran NHL forward Daniel Winnik. Winnik, 33, had expressed interest in re-signing with the team, but was reportedly weighing his options for furthering his career. It seems he came to the decision that Geneve-Servette is a long-term fit, as the team today announced a two-year contract extension with Winnik. Tim Bozon, a former Montreal Canadiens prospect, also signed on for two more years with the club.
In the release, GM Chris McSorley stated that “Daniel has become a valuable player (for) the Club; he represents completely the fighting spirit that is expected of our players. He works hard and is a physical player who puts the team first.” Winnik is currently third on the team with 23 points in 31 games and second only to another former NHLer, Cody Almond, in per-game production. An experienced two-way forward, it comes as little surprise that Winnik has developed into a leader and dependable piece for Geneve-Servette in his first season.
However, it is somewhat of a surprise that he was willing to commit to a new contract to stay overseas this soon. Winnik played in 81 games with the Minnesota Wild just last season and was in camp with the Boston Bruins deep into the preseason before being cut. Not only could Winnik have been a potential stretch run signing for a contender, but his strong showing in Switzerland this season may have been enough to earn him another shot next season as well. Yet, Winnik has played with eight different teams over his eleven NHL seasons and – in the twilight of his playing days – is probably content to stay in one place for a while. In the team’s release, Winnik did say “It (means) a lot for me to stay in this great organization. My wife and I love Geneva and look forward to staying two more years”, so this is clearly a decision that the journeyman forward is happy with. Unfortunately, it does mean that we have probably seen the last of Winnik in North America, as he will be 36 years old by the time this contract expires. The hard-working forward certainly made an impact on many teams and fan bases over his respectable NHL career, if it is indeed over.