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Senators sign David Legwand to two-year, $6M contract

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The Ottawa Senators have brought in another pivot to add depth in the middle.

"I think your helmet's over there, David."
"I think your helmet's over there, David."
Leon Halip

The Ottawa Senators had been quiet on the UFA front so far, only re-signing Milan Michalek as far as the NHL roster was concerned. After a few days, they've now made their second signing, bringing in David Legwand to add some depth in the middle.

The contract is what you'd expect from Ottawa on the free agent market -- two years at an average value of $3M per year. The term is important as Legwand will be 34 at the time the season starts, and will prevent Ottawa from holding onto him too long while his effectiveness diminishes. So far, his decline appears to be fairly graceful -- he put up 51 points last year, one of the better point producing seasons for a guy who generally falls within 40-50 points.

Legwand spent most of his career in Nashville, and is a defensive centreman that plays a 200 foot game that should make Paul MacLean happy. While not a terrific possession player by Corsi standards (49.5 CF% last year), he's spent most of his career getting mostly defensive zone starts and playing against top competition. That changed dramatically last year, as evidenced by this graph, which is mildly concerning as Legwand was more sheltered than usual (although it's hard to call a 49% offensive zone start "sheltered"), and somehow had a penalty differential of -17. Senators fans may also want to temper expectations of another 51 point season because a lot of Legwand's points were amassed on the power play rather than at even strength -- Legwand somehow led Nashville forwards on powerplay time on ice per game, something that is unlikely to happen with the Senators.

Still, those mild concerns are outweighed greatly by the positives. As Jonathan Willis pointed out, Legwand is generally around 1.65 points per 60 minutes, or 160th in points among forwards -- the equivalent of a slightly below average second-liner. To put up those kinds of points under tough zone starts and against good competition is the type of player Ottawa should have been looking for, and it helps address the loss of Jason Spezza in the middle (even though he is in no way a replacement of Spezza's offense). They did so on an extremely reasonable contract for a short term.

This signing fits the Ottawa Senators mold in pretty much every way: it's a cheap, short-term contract for a 6'2" guy who had a -17 penalty differential last year. Maybe he'll even be captain!