Darren Dreger is reporting considerable interest in David Legwand on the part of the Maple Leafs, who have submitted a first offer on the free agent center.
Term will be the thorny part of a potential contract, but the 33-year-old Legwand is a serviceable veteran with some game left in him who would be able to address the need for another center capable of playing in the top 9 while the Leafs wait on the development of some youth at the position (Holland, Gauthier, Nylander).
Legwand would add some size (6’2, 204 pounds) and 977-games experience to a currently-shallow center position and could round out an at-least respectable group of four alongside Bozak, Kadri and Holland. It’s certainly no LA or San Jose top 4, but that would likely be enough to be competitive in the East. Legwand has posted respectable possession numbers for the past three seasons playing against tough competition in Nashville (Barry Trotz leaned on Mike Fisher a little more in terms of tough comp/defensive zone starts, but they were pretty close in terms of sharing the responsibility).
It all depends on price, but winding up with Legwand over Bolland might be a case of Plan B being the best result for Leafs management. In addition to more size and better possession numbers, there’s a track record of more production with Legwand – .59 career PPG compared to .53 – and he’s likely to come in cheaper pretty much because he played in Nashville for most of his career rather than Chicago.
Before his trade to Detroit last season, Legwand posted 40 points in 61 games playing 17 minutes a night including 2:58 on the powerplay (note: he’s unlikely to play that much on the PP in Toronto). Legwand added 11 points in 21 games for Detroit, including 9 points in his first 10 games while serving as the acting top line center for the Wings. He put up just one point in his final 10 games and zero in five playoff games after getting bumped down the lineup due to the return of Darren Helm and Pavel Datsyuk from injury.
Legwand won 51.1% of his faceoffs last season. He made $4.5 million a season for 6 years on his last contract.
Ex-Maple Leaf center Jay McClement signed with the Carolina Hurricanes for 1 year, $1 million this afternoon.