Monday, July 23, 2012
Will Winchester Find A Home?
The free agency period has been open nearly a month a Jesse Winchester remains without a club to call home. The 28 year old who has spent parts of 4 seasons with the Sens is not returning to Ottawa, that much we know. It isn't that he doesn't have some minor value, it's that we have a logjam of guys who do what he does, which is play hard, but they have way more potential, which is why he will not be returning. Winchester is more than replaceable however and that's his main problem. He does everything ok, nothing remarkably well.
To some he was a bit of a fan favorite at SBP, partly due to the way he played and mostly due to the fact that he was from the area. That stuff still matters to some I guess. But when you look at his game that lists career highs of 4 goals and 18 points in a year, then you see why interest is low. Mix in concussion problems and some other injury concerns and Winchester may be waiting awhile for the phone to ring.
The Senators did offer him a contract this summer before July 1st, this much I know, but he declined and probably rightfully so. The rumor is the Sens low balled him and did so to say hey we tried. They didn't really, but who could blame them. Last year I completely forgot he was on the roster for a month. He's just a forgettable kinda guy.
Will another NHL team give him a chance? My take is it's fairly unlikely or it would have happened by now. Zenon Konopka found a home, and even though many of you aren't fans of Zenon's game, he brings far more to the table than Winchester does.
At this point he likely has 2 options. He could go to Europe and accept that his career as an NHLer may be over, or he can take a 2 way deal with someone that presents the best situation for him and come into camp and kill it and hope to make the roster. If that doesn't work, play as well as you can in the AHL, hope for a call up and hope you can stick. It's a sad reality of being a pro athlete. There's always someone there to take your spot. It's a cruel world really when you think about it.
Winchester played his heart out for Ottawa, I will more than give him that. He just doesn't have much of a game to speak of, let alone one that ensures him being a sure fire NHLer at this point and at 28 he is what he will be, a guy who's always on the fringe of making the team or being the last one cut.
Let's hope for Jesse's sake that the phone rings soon and he makes the right decision.
Thanks for reading.