36-Year-Old Center – Free Agent
David Legwand Contract Information:
Signed a two-year, $6 million contract with the Senators in July 2014. Traded to the Sabres in June 2015.
Legwand announced his retirement from the NHL on Thursday.
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RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
A supplementary piece in the deal that brought Robin Lehner to Buffalo, the 34-year-old still has some value on the Sabres as a veteran who can help the team shield its younger centers. Legwand's best days are clearly behind him, but this is a case where his presence alone adds value that won't be reflected on the stat sheet. He scored just nine goals and 27 points in 80 games with Ottawa last year, both career lows on a per-game basis, and will likely line up as the Sabres' fourth-line center and one of team’s better defensive players.
Legwand is a seasoned veteran that will likely play his 1,000th career game this coming season, and he should provide leadership for a roster made up mostly of young talent. The center picked up 14 goals and 37 assists while playing 83 games with the Predators and the Red Wings last season. He was largely a dud in Detroit, but he’ll look to get back in stride with the Senators, his second new team in less than a year. Legwand has put up solid numbers his whole career when healthy, and should do the same with whoever the Sens stick next to him on the team's second line.
Legwand is generally a pretty steady fantasy scoring option, usually chipping in at a 0.65 point-per-game clip. Last year, Legwand skated in all 48 of the Preds' regular season games and registered 25 points (12 goals, 13 assists). Again, nothing flashy and even a little under his usual pace. Legwand comes as advertised and likely won't let you down as long as you manage your expectations accordingly. He will likely open the season as the team's second-line center once again behind Mike Fisher.
Legwand, the Preds’ first-ever draft pick and longest-serving player, enjoyed his best campaign in five seasons last year with 19 goals and 34 assists in 78 games. Centering the Preds’ second line, he seemed to finally find some solid chemistry with linemates Colin Wilson and Patric Hornqvist. Looking forward, the role of second-line center is Legwand’s to lose at this point, however he does have youngster Craig Smith nipping at his heels. We think he’s good for at least one more season with output somewhere in the range of 45-55 points.
Legwand, despite being the Predators' first-ever draft pick, longest-serving player and franchise scoring leader (448 pts in 768 games), has generally not lived up to expectations over the past 12 seasons. Legwand looked to be turning the corner back in 2006-07 when he scored a career-high 63 points, but has since followed that up with seasons of 44, 42, 38 and 41 points. This steady, if unspectacular, level of production should once again earn him second-line center honours for next season, but at 31 years old, don't expect him to suddenly catch fire. Oddly enough, Legwand tends to elevate his game in the playoffs (20 pts in 18 games over the past two years), but there's little evidence to suggest he can carry this over into the regular season. Another year of 40-ish points is a reasonable expecation.
Legwand had a miserable regular season in 2009-10, with just 38 points (11G, 27A) in 82 regular season games. The lone bright spot for Legwand was his productivity in the playoffs, scoring seven points (2G, 5A) in the Preds' first-round loss to Chicago. Sadly, this was not enough for him to avoid the wrath of Nashville GM David Poile, who publicly called Legwand out after the playoffs, saying, "... if David Legwand doesn't score more than 20 goals next season, I'm not going to be very happy." The Predators' first-ever draft pick shows flashes of brilliance from time to time, but overall has yet to live up to expectations. Furthermore, it appears he will now be on a very short leash as far as team management goes. Legwand remains a very risky fantasy play until he can demonstrate more consistency.
In the 2006-2007 season, Legwand put up 27 goals, 63 points, and had a plus-23 rating. The past two seasons, he's scored in the low 40s and been a negative in plus/minus. You can expect Legwand to miss a handful of games, as he did last season, and he'll probably score between 40-50 points with 20 goals seeming like a reasonable prediction for his ceiling.
To say that Legwand is a frustrating forward for Predators fans would be an understatement. The 1998 first-round pick was supposed to become the Predators' franchise player. Instead, he has only teased fans and coaches alike with glimpses of potential and a history of nagging injuries. In eight seasons of NHL play, Legwand has only four seasons of 70 or more games played. After scoring 27 goals in 2006-07 and raising expectations to the roof, he fell completely apart last season and registered only 15 goals in 65 games, while battling a series of injuries. In summary, the talent is definitely present for Legwand to be a star forward, but unrealized potential and a penchant for nagging injuries have made him a risky fantasy hockey selection in any format.
A full season with no injuries kept Legwand in the game last season and he responded well. Legwand posted career highs in goals, assists, points and plus-minus. His 27 goals, 36 assists and 63 points made him the third highest scoring Predator in 2006-07. Now that Legwand has found the back of the net he will be expected to continue finding it this season. He will likely center a line with the young offensive star Alexander Radulov this season. Together the two should form the Predators most dangerous offensive threat in the coming season. Legwand should challenge the 30-goal mark for a second season in Nashville.
Legwand battled knee problems all year long last season. He had surgery to repair his torn ACL back in May and has been rehabbing most of the off-season. Legwand was pegged to be the Predators first home-grown superstar when he was drafted second overall back in 1998, but has only managed to post two full NHL seasons in his six-season career. Injuries and slow development have kept Legwand from reaching that 20-goal and 50-point plateau that he should have hit long ago. We don’t expect the increased competition to necessarily benefit Legwand and his injury history looms like a dark cloud over any fantasy expectations.
After posting a career high 48 points in just 64 games in 2002-03, big things were expected from Legwand the last time the NHL played. He failed to meet those expectations though, managing just 47 points despite not missing a single game for Nashville. He's still only 25, and after a dominating run through the playoffs in the Swiss Elite League for EHC Basel (16 goals and 39 points in 19 games) Legwand once again seems poised to capitalize on his talent. Given his upside, don't be afraid to draft him in the 20-goal, 50-point range.