Ed. Note: From August 21st through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. In no specific order, today we continue with David Legwand…
|David Legwand’s last 3 seasons|
2012-13 in review:
Just one of three players to appear in all 48 games last season for the Predators, David Legwand led the team with 12 goals and also had 13 assists for 25 points, second to only captain Shea Weber’s 28 points.
With his $4.5 million cap hit, Legwand is continuously expected to produce offense for the Preds while simultaneously shutting down the opponent’s top lines. On a team riddled with injuries last season, the 33-year-old struggled early on (four goals, four assists in first 24 games) before the Predators’ roster featured the best of the Milwaukee Admirals. When the Predators leaned on Legwand the most late last season, he came through modestly picking up eight goals and nine assists in the last half of the team’s worst season in years.
Toward the end of the season, Legwand was the veteran presence on a line with Taylor Beck and newly acquired forward Filip Forsberg. The three displayed chemistry together and could produce some offense for Nashville this upcoming season, though with all the offseason pickups for Nashville, Beck may once again find himself starting the season in Milwaukee despite his impressive showing.
Burning question for 2013-14: Is this Legwand’s final season in Nashville?
An unrestricted free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season, one question that will surround Legwand until the 2014 trade deadline is whether or not the Michigan native will be following Martin Erat out of Nashville.
Like Erat before he was traded to Washington, Legwand has played his entire career with the Predators. He was the first-ever draft pick for Nashville. While some see Legwand as a career Predator, it is not unrealistic to think that the center also wants a shot at winning the Stanley Cup before retiring. With the Predators not being thought of as a top Cup contender this season, it could be an ideal time to trade Legwand to get something for the aging forward before he walks next summer.
Even if Legwand does want to play out the rest of his career in a Predators uniform, his position on the depth chart is slipping. With the addition of Matt Cullen, Legwand now likely finds himself as the third-line center and will see decreased minutes as a result. And with depth at the forward position piling up for the long-term, the Predators may not have room for Legwand beyond this season. While Cullen is only signed for the next two years, Nashville’s youth must also be getting restless being stuck playing in Milwaukee and will soon have to be given their shot in the NHL.
If this is in fact Legwand’s final season in Nashville, it will be the end of an era so to speak. He is the franchise’s all-time leader in many categories, including goals, assists, points and games played.