Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
The acquisition of David Legwand didn’t come without a price.
Forward Patrick Eaves was in and out of the lineup regularly, and his contract freed $1.2 million in cap space for Detroit.
The conditional third-round choice will become a second-round pick if the Red Wings make the playoffs. At the moment, they sit one point behind the Columbus Blue Jackets for the eighth spot with one game in hand.
Twenty-two-year-old prospect Calle Jarnkrok was the most attractive part of the deal for Nashville, and how he develops ultimately determines the significance of the trade.
Legwand brings good size (6’2”, 205 pounds) at center, where Detroit is desperate for help.
Henrik Zetterberg is out for the regular season, while Pavel Datsyuk and Darren Helm have been shut down with a knee injury and headaches, respectively. This leaves Joakim Andersson, Riley Sheahan and Luke Glendening at center.
Legwand can—and will need to—play big minutes as a top-line center. He’ll do so between Gustav Nyquist and Johan Franzen for the foreseeable future.
He scored a career-high 27 goals and 63 points during the 2006-07 season with Nashville. His role in Detroit will be significant, but the kind of weight he can carry in the absence of franchise players remains to be seen.
He’s a good combination of skill and grit and could be an asset going forward. Should Stephen Weiss and Darren Helm return soon, the support down the middle could make Detroit a strong candidate for the playoff race.
Whether or not Datsyuk and Zetterberg are able to return this season, Legwand could prove himself a quality fit for this team.