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Winnik on signing in Toronto: 'Tough to turn down offers from the Leafs when you grew up there'

Kelvin Kuo / US Presswire

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The newest member of the Toronto Maple Leafs - Toronto-born bottom-six grinder Daniel Winnik - appeared on TSN Radio 1050 on Monday night, hours after signing a one-year contract with his hometown Maple Leafs as an unrestricted free agent. 

"It's pretty tough to turn down offers from the Toronto Maple Leafs when you grew up there," Winnik said of the opportunity to return home. "It's a little bit of a homecoming.

"You get a little excited," continued the 29-year-old forward, who has played every season of his professional career in the Western Conference. "To let my parents know and my family know was another little excitement, I know my dad's excited to have me back in the city [...] so he can watch games."

The perpetually undervalued two-way forward discussed what role he's been told he'll fill with the Maple Leafs this upcoming season:

Similar to what i had in Anaheim and my previous teams. Third-line, penalty-killer. [...]

(I'm a) straight forward player. Go north-south. Play responsible defensively. I'm big in the corners and that's where I sort of do my best work, eat up tough minutes. [...]

As for moving from Orange County, where hockey is a peripheral sport, to the bright lights of Toronto, where hockey is religion, Winnik is anticipating a bit of an adjustment. "I think it'll take some preparation and some getting used to," Winnik said. "It's obviously going to be a lot different from other cities that I've played in."

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