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Daniel Winnik faces another offseason of uncertainty

Daniel Winnik faces another offseason of uncertainty

The Capitals’ Game 7 loss did not just end the season, it may have also ended Daniel Winnik’s time in Washington. Winnik is among the pending free agents coming off the books for the Capitals this offseason.

Winnik became a Capital in 2016 as part of a trade deadline deal and cemented a spot on the fourth line. In his first full season with Washington, he had 25 points and set a career-high in goals with 12.

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While he did mention that he would like to return to the Caps, the possibility of playing for another team is not an unfamiliar situation for Winnik who has played on seven different teams already in his career. After a solid season numbers wise, he is confident he has earned himself a new deal.

“I think I've been pretty steady my whole career numbers wise,” Winnik said. “I think I've kind of maintained the same area and obviously this year set a career high for goals. I don't know if that'll come to account come free agency time if I get there, but I hope it does.”

Despite how many different teams he has played on in the past, however, that doesn’t mean Winnik, who is now 32 years old, is looking forward to the process.

“It sucks. There's a lot of guys in the league that are in the same boat. I'm older now, but I don't think my game's declined at all so hopefully that helps me come free agency if I get there.”

But will it come to free agency for Winnik?

One of Washington’s biggest weaknesses in the playoffs was its scoring depth. Alex Ovechkin was the only player from the third or fourth line to score against Pittsburgh and, come on, he doesn’t count. A dependable fourth-line veteran like Winnik, who also said he would like to return to the Caps next season, is an underrated piece that Washington does not have enough of.

But the team’s salary cap situation will likely leave them with no choice but to let Winnik walk. With Evgeny Kuznetsov, Anre Burakovsky, Dmitry Orlov, Philipp Grubauer and possibly T.J. Oshie all in need of new contracts, they may not have the money for a 32-year-old fourth liner who has yet to score a single goal in the playoffs in his career.

Said Winnik, “They've got bigger questions than myself going into this offseason.”

MORE CAPITALS: Kuznetsov not overly concerned with new contract

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.

The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal. 

Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.

Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.

The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.

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