by Forechecker on 09/26/08 at 05:20 PM ET
If a single player could represent the history and growth of an NHL franchise, that player would probably be David Legwand. The first draft pick of the Nashville Predators displays many of the hallmark characteristics of the team; he’s an underrated two-way player, and succeeds more through a consistent, hard-working effort than any eye-popping display of talent. Some look at his 2nd overall draft position from 1998 and consider his offensive production disappointing, but GM David Poile saw enough there to reward him with a 5-year, $22.5 million contract. What can we expect, then, from Legwand this season?
Just as with our profiles of other Nashville Predators, let’s take a look at his ice time and production over the last three seasons:
|David Legwand Production & Ice Time, Last 3 Seasons|
|GP||EV Pts/60||PP Pts/60||EV TOI/G||PP TOI/G||SH TOI/G|
I was a bit surprised not to see Legwand’s total TOI figure closer to 20:00 per game; but then, one of the factors that has held #11 back has been health. When skating at 100%, he’ll log 20:00 - 22:20 a night, and that’s what the team will need this year, as Legwand has proven to be an effective player in all situations, although it would help if he could improve his subpar faceoff work. Looking ahead to 2008-9, I could see the Predators shortening their bench slightly, giving Legwand a bit more ice time but even then there’s not much to suggest he’ll do better then 2.3 shots per game, and with a likely shooting percentage of 11%, that likely leaves him just shy of the 20-goal mark. He may well, however, set a new career-best in assists as he looks to to feed snipers like Martin Erat and J.P. Dumont, as well as help develop younger players like Patric Hornqvist and Ryan Jones.
Now, I do have one unconventional suggestion to offer Barry Trotz if he wants to squeeze a 100-point season out of Legwand; get me out there on the ice with him. Glancing through David’s hockey career, it jumped out at me that his most successful offensive campaign was 1997-98 when he went 54-51-105 for the OHL’s Plymouth Whalers. At that same time, I played in a beer league at the (then-new) Compuware Arena, a circumstance so obvious that even this pixel-stained wretch sees the opportunity. Of course, back then, our best player used to have a few cocktails and smokes at the restaurant upstairs before coming down for our games, but I don’t know that Coach Trotz would let me make that part of game-day preparation.
The choice is yours, Coach; ensure yourself that Jack Adams Award and sign me up, or be prepared to settle for the official Forechecker’s Forecast…
|Forechecker’s Forecast, 2008-9 NHL Regular Season|
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