Winchester back to NHL with Blackhawks

Brad Winchester had a tough time finding an NHL deal when his contract with the Sharks was up in 2011-12, but he’s back in the big leagues.

Winchester, who spent 37 games with the Milwaukee Admirals in 2012-13, has signed a one-year, one-way deal with the Chicago Blackhawks that will pay the gritty forward $725,000 next season.

In the role of agitator and trouble maker, Winchester has found a career. However, last season was his first since 2004-05 when he couldn’t turn it into some playing time in the NHL. In 414 career NHL games, Winchester — a 32-year-old from Madison, Wisc. — has amassed 578 PIM while adding 71 points (38-33). At the AHL level, Winchester’s dressed in 237 contests, scoring 74 goals and adding 59 assists on top of his 464 PIM. 2012-13 was his first full year in the AHL since breaking into the NHL in 2005-06 as a member of the Edmonton Oilers.