Brad Winchester was on Bob Murray’s radar last summer, but it doesn’t take an electronic device to spot the 6-foot-5, 230-pound forward.
Winchester, who arrived Monday from the St. Louis Blues in exchange for a third-round 2012 draft pick, projects primarily as a bottom-six winger. Not surprisingly, he was skating at left wing on a line with Kyle Chipchura and George Parros on the same morning he arrived in Anaheim.
But the Madison, Wisconsin, native is more than strictly an energy-line tough guy.
“He’s been used in front of the net on the power play in St. Louis a little bit,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “We think that he’s a guy who can move up and down on our left side, if we feel that there’s a necessity to have a bigger body with (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry.”
In addition to his 86 penalty minutes and eight major penalties this season, Winchester has nine goals in 57 games. He also has a 13-goal season under his belt in 2008-09.
“Part of the reasoning with the acquisition of the player, is he’s been able to provide a level of offense … he can play on the third line, fourth line, move up on your power play, play a front of the net position,” Carlyle said. “If you get players who can score 10-plus goals in that position, you’d like to utilize that.”
Winchester — who turned 30 on Tuesday –has a long fight card that includes one fight with Parros back in 2006.
He leaves a team in St. Louis that has fallen off the playoff map, and began trading off some of its better players in mid-February. He joins an Anaheim team that had pursued him in free agency last summer (he ultimately decided to re-sign with the Blues).
Yet even with that much writing on the wall, Winchester said he was caught by surprise when he learned of the trade upon arriving in St. Louis from the team flight out of Calgary.
“Any time you trade core, integral parts of your team, it’s a shock to everybody,” he said. “Certainly guys that you fight battles with, and good friends and good teammates, it’s part of the business but certainly you become really tight with guys in the room.”
Winchester has a three-inch height advantage on Maxim Lapierre, whom he’ll replace on the wing in the bottom-six rotation. Murray said Monday that was a critical factor in making the trade.
Carlyle made it sound like there wasn’t much more Lapierre could have done to solidify his spot in the lineup, other than being taller.
“Lappy, we thought that he was going to be probably a third-line center for us. That didn’t develop,” Carlyle said. “We moved him to the wing, and I thought he played better there for us, but when the opportunity came along for a bigger-bodied guy, we thought Winchester was more of a fit. I think Todd Marchant’s play in the middle has really helped us make that decision.
“Lappy just didn’t seem to find a real niche here. He worked hard, was a good teammate — I’ve got no complaints about Lappy (or) whatever he brought.”