The answer may surprise you.
David Legwand is entering the last season of his contract next year, and it’s clear he’s worn out his welcome in Nashville. Earlier in the season when asked on David, Trotz responded with “he can be as good as he wants to be.” Not exactly the set of words that would make me feel safe. It’s important to note that Legwand’s caphit is sitting steady a 4.5 million dollars, and with guys like Stephen Weiss and Derek Roy sitting in free agency, now might be the right time to make a move for a new Center. But that isn’t the only factor. Legwand’s performance in Nashville has always been questioned, and with a retooling on the way it seems as if the Predators are willing to cut ties with the guys who aren’t willing to work hard enough. That quote from Trotz tells me they’ve targeted who isn’t working hard enough.
Let’s be perfectly honest here, when the Predators re-signed Legwand all those years ago it was just two short years after he had his 63 point season. Since that time he’s only had more than 45 points in one season. Not exactly what I would call 4.5 million dollars worth of money. I will take into account the fact he’s only going to be making 3.5 million dollar next season, but only if you take into account that he’s got a No Trade Clause which would not allow us to send him to the highest bidder. The overall concern with releasing Legwand earlier than now was the fact he’s a native of Detroit, and everybody expected he would run home to the Red Wings where he would be fully accepted as a 2nd/3rd line center.
Except now the Predators don’t have to fear losing him to the Wings. We play them twice, and we’ve got way bigger fish to fry than the Red Wings anymore. We have to find a way to deal with the Blackhawks, Blues, Wild, and upstart Stars. The only way to do that is to get a Center who can help us compete night in and night out. Both Weiss and Roy have proven they can do that, throw either of them in with the Preds draft pick (who I think will be Barkov or Sean Monahan), Watson, Gaustad, and Fisher and you will have an absolute dog fight for once at the Center spot. The best part is, if Watson or the draft pick don’t live up to the hype at first they can go right back down to Milwaukee or their junior team. If they all contribute, you can flank one of them out to Wing as the Predators have done so famously with Craig Smith, Colin Wilson, and just about anybody else who doesn’t win many faceoffs.
As for Legwand, he would leave the franchise with the most games played, the most points, and he would leave knowing he was one of the first to stick around. That part makes you sad, but at the end of the day hockey is a business, and if you’re not getting big play production out of your Center spot, your hockey team won’t be going very far. I feel with Roy or Weiss we could get better production, despite the fact their numbers have looked fairly similar as of late. Roy at one point and time was capping off 70 point seasons like they were nothing, it’s hard to imagine he couldn’t do it again if paired with Wilson and Hornqvist, or maybe even some of our other free agent targets that I will discuss later.
So tell me, what are your thoughts on the matter? Taking the emotions out of it, is it time for David Legwand to go?
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