A deal made late on the trade deadline last week sent former Nashville Predator David Legwand to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Patrick Eaves, Swedish prospect Calle Jarnkrock, and a third round pick that will become a second round pick if the Red Wings are able to make the playoffs at the end of this season.
Eaves cleared waivers earlier this season in order to make room on the Wings roster for the young talent in the organization, and had requested a trade. He was oping for a bit more ice time in the last year of his deal. Jarnkrock had threatened to go back to Europe if he wasn’t pulled up to the NHL, and it’s still up in the air if Jarnkrock will return to Sweden after the season to do so. Jarnkrock’s “Prospect Talent Score” on Hockey’s Future is a 7.5, with a probability of success score ranking at a C.
Legwand, now 33, was the Predators first ever draft pick. He spent all 15 seasons of his career with Nashville, but waived his no trade clause to come to his home state of Michigan to play with the Detroit Red Wings.
In his time in Nashville, Legwand played a total of 956 games, scoring 210 goals and 356 assists. The trade to Detroit had been rumored for a while, and was made late on the day of the deadline after the Red Wings decided to shut down Pavel Datsyuk for three weeks with a knee injury, and Darren Helm began to battle a concussion.
The Red Wings needed help down the middle, and with the asking price of Ryan Kesler being as high as it was, the Wings turned to Legwand in hopes of some help. The Wings have been riddled with injuries all season long, and are now without centers Datsyuk, Helm, Stephen Weiss, and Henrik Zetterberg.
Legwand made it to Detroit for the Wings next game the following night and made his debut on Nicklas Lidstrom night at the Joe. Legwand skated for just over 16 minutes in his debut in the winged wheel, and looked to fit in nicely on the top line with Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen. He finished the game with a -2 rating, and two shots on goal, but played well.
Legwand is strong on the puck, and a relentless forechecker. A great two way player, his hard work and effort showed through in the first game against the Colorado Avalanche, and coach Mike Babcock showed his trust in the new centerman by playing him in a three on three situation in overtime.
After the game, Babcock praised Legwand’s efforts saying, “I thought he was real good,” said coach Mike Babcock. “He gave us a chance to roll everyone out the door. He gave us confidence.” per one mlive report.
The Wings skated again the following night against the New Jersey Devils in Detroit. The game really opened up in the second period for both sides, as a total of seven goals were scored. The Wings would hold the lead in the third and come away with a 7-4 win.
The real story behind the offensive onslaught, was the Johan Franzen, Gustav Nyquist, and David Legwand line, that produced a total of 11 points. Franzen scored two goals and tallied two assists, while Nyquist scored once and added three assists. Legwand scored his first goal as a Red Wing and added two assists to the score sheet as well.
A valiant effort from Legwand and the rest of the Red Wings gave them the two points against another team playing on the playoff bubble. Legwand’s forecheck continued to impress me, and his effort on every shift is a good sign for the Red Wings who desperately need all the help they can get coming down the stretch.
Legwand has made an instant impact on the team, and I expect him to do so for the remainder of the season. The Red Wings currently sit in final wild card spot in the East with 71 points, but have no room for error as the Columbus Blue Jackets are right on their heals with 71 points as well.
The Wings skate today at 12:30 eastern against the New York Rangers, who added some talent at the deadline as well in Martin St. Louis. It will be interesting to see how the Wings can play through the rest of the season missing so many key pieces.