Tuesday, November 21, 2006

#9: Brad Winchester
The best players you've never heard of

Team: Edmonton Oilers
Pos.: LW Ht.: 6-5 Wt.: 215
Hometown: Madison, Wis.

Key stats: Playing on a line with Marty Reasoner and Patrick Thoresen, Winchester has put up pretty decent totals (three goals, four assists in 20 games) despite the fact he's only averaging 7:49 ice time per game. He currently leads the Oilers with a +5 rating, is second in PIM with 34 (including four fights) and has an impressive 29 shots on goal.

James on Brad: The first thing you notice about Winchester whenever he's on the ice is that he's a big, big body — a guy who's a born power forward and is going to have a lot of success banging bodies on any team's third line. After struggling early, he's fit in much better and begun to produce some offence, including a stretch in mid-November where he had six points in seven games. He was on a 50-plus goal pace last season in the AHL, but was pretty inconsistent in four years in the NCAA. While a rookie, he's already 25 years old.

Pub for Brad: “Brad's doing everything now that he wasn't in training camp ... he was tentative and passive, he wasn't taking the puck to the net or protecting it down low,” head coach Craig MacTavish told the Edmonton Journal. “He was always on edge before, but now he's played himself into a pretty important position on the team, going from an average of five or six minutes a game to 11.

“He's determined around the net, something I haven't seen for a while.

“He looks so much more comfortable now. Before it was looking absolutely like rocket science when you'd watch him, but he's simplified his game.”


At 10:38 a.m., November 21, 2006, Blogger Doogie2K said...

I think Ethan Moreau's injury saved Winchester's career. The difference between pre-Markov hit and post-Markov hit is stunning.

At 5:35 p.m., November 21, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

He still have a lot to lern. That giveaway on Rollie's awesome save against the Wings is a good exemple.

At 12:52 a.m., November 22, 2006, Blogger Unknown said...

Blech. In twenty years of watching WCHA hockey, Winchester is the dirtiest player that's come through the league. He beats out Jason Blake by sheer volume of mayhem despite Blake hitting Brett Abramoff with the most vicious slash I've ever seen.

There was absolutely nothing appealing about Winchester during his four years at Wisconsin. He notched 84 points in 150 games. He took dozens of dumb penalties, and is remembered as the poster child for the utter futility of the last few years of Jeff Sauer's tenure as coach.

My sister, a Badger season ticket holder for the last two of those years as well as the first two after he was gone, loathes the guy. I mean, you expect a Gopher fan like me to hate him, but I don't no of any Wisconsin fans that have a good word to say about him.

He's repulsive. I found myself rooting for Anaheim to beat the Oilers in last year's playoffs for no reason other than that Edmonton employs Winchester. If this is what constitutes one of the best players that other people have never heard of, perhaps it's best that they remain ignorant.

At 5:00 p.m., November 23, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When i hear Winchester's name, i just want to head to Walmart and buy a .22...

i hope j. michael neal doesnt think the same way.


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