Training camp storylines: David Legwand turns attention to upcoming season
After a tough ending to the off season, Predators forward David Legwand is ready to get back on the ice.
“It’s nice. You try to put those tough things behind you,” Legwand, who was a close friend of Wade Belak, said about returning to the rink for training camp. “You try to move on. It’s going to be hard. But it is nice to get back around a good group of guys and have fun,” he said after his first official on-ice practice Saturday morning at Centennial Sportsplex.
With some of the more veteran players like Steve Sullivan and JP Dumont no longer a part of the organization, this season is shaping up to be about the youth movement.
Legwand says in some ways, having a young team can be exciting but that for many it will be a learning process. “The kids have a lot of responsibility. Bringing in young guys and letting them evolve, it’s good. Letting them learn is a positive thing,” he said.
Nashville’s youth means experience is at a premium and no one has more experience playing for the Predators than Legwand, who is starting his 12th season with the club. Legwand will likely be looked to by the younger players as one of the leaders of the team.
The Detroit, Michigan native admits that his age has thrust him into that position. “Yeah, I’m over 30,” he comments when asked about whether he will be taking on more of a leadership position this season. “There are only 4 of us, so it will be interesting.” The 6’2, 204 pound center just turned 31 on August 17th. Jerred Smithson, 32, is the oldest forward currently on the roster.
Last season, Legwand seemed to carry the team offensively at times during the stretch, including a 15-game period last January and February where he picked up 14 points. The steady offensive contributions continued during the playoffs against the Ducks and Canucks with Legwand scoring 6 goals and adding 3 assists for 9 points in 12 games.
But expectations are running high and another trip to the Western Conference semi-finals will not be enough for Legwand.
While some players expectations are personal such as staying healthy, and others simply are fighting for a roster spot, the veteran forward makes it clear he has one goal in mind for the 2011-12 season. “Win the Stanley Cup,” Legwand says when asked about what it will take for the year to be called a success. Anything less may seem like a disappointment.
“I think it’s pretty simple. I don’t think we can be happy with getting in [the playoffs] and doing those type of things, but we need to exceed expectations I think for it to be a positive year for everybody,” Legwand said.
The Predators training camp continues Sunday morning with the 55 player roster split into three groups. The first squad hits the ice at 10:00 am. All sessions are free and open to the public.
Photo credit: Sarah Fuqua