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SAN JOSE -- When Brad Winchester came to San Joses training camp back in September, it was on a Pro-Tryout basis, meaning there was no guarantee he would make the team, or that the Sharks would even offer him a two-way contract.
Thats somewhat difficult to imagine now, where more than halfway through the season, Winchester is one of 10 Sharks to have played in every game.
Its a really good thing for Brad as an individual, head coach Todd McLellan said. Initially with the draft (Year 2000) and picked where he was (35th overall) it became a little easy for him. But since leaving Edmonton and moving on to a number of different organizations hes really had to scrap for his career, for his ice time, hes done nothing but that here.
It was both a great fit, and a great find, in terms of the San Jose perspective.
Far as it goes for our organization, its always great to be able to find assets and not have to give anything up to get them, McLellan said. Brad was a great recruit by our management staff, and Im really glad that they brought him in, because he fits our team really well.
Winchester doesnt exactly relish in the fact that his journey this season has been amazingly positive. I asked him frankly about it this morning.
Each night youre coming to play, Winchester said. And certainly my mindset hasnt changed since day one.
He uses his size, hes got a very good shot and a very good set of hands to go with it, McLellan said. In the games played against the boards, and in front of the net, the scrums and the battles for loose pucks, hes very effective for us. So we want that to continue.
But its not always about playing with the puck. Most recently, Winchester dropped the gloves after Dane Byers of Columbus illegally shouldered teammate Andrew Desjardins in the head. He instinctually wasted no time in responding physically with Byers, if nothing else, to send a message.
Were teammates and were like brothers, Desjardins said Tuesday. So obviously thats a thing, but its hard to say you expect it. But he would do it for me ... and I would do it for him.
Winchester credits his consistency and success alongside linemates Desjardins and Andrew Murray to one thing.
Its been a lot of work, Winchester said. Working in practice, working with video. When you play with guys you get chemistry and talking through where guys want the puck. What the strengths are of each other, and playing to those.
As for settling in and enjoying his time so far, Winchester only has great things to say.
Its a great organization, he said. I love being here in San Jose. Its a great place to be and just its exciting and I feel awesome to be here.
Said McLellan: Sometimes when you jump around from team to team, you dont really find a home. Hopefully hes working towards finding his home here.
Follow Brodie Brazil in real time: @brodiebrazilcsn