Reprinted with permission from hockeybuzz.com
DOB: August 17, 1980 (age, 35)
Draft: 1998, 2nd overall (NSH)
How acquired: Trade with Ottawa at the NHL Entry Draft, June 26, 2015
Last contract signed: 2014, 2yr./$6M (OTT)
Final year of contract: 2015-16, UFA
2015-16 Stats: 79 games, 5 goals, 9 assists, 14 points, -4
What we wrote preseason: "The 35 yr. old Legwand came to Buffalo in the draft-day trade that netted goalie Robin Lehner from the Ottawa Senators and was a condition of the deal. If Sabres GM Tim Murray wanted Lehner, Legwand and his $3.5M salary had to be included in the deal.
Many have seen Legwand in the starting lineup opening night because he brings "veteran leadership" to the ice. Perhaps he should be looked at as the answer to "who's coming out to make room for Johan Larsson?"
What we wrote mid-season: "most wondered what the 35 yr. old had to offer a young team like Buffalo, but he's proven to be a stabilizing force in a bottom-six role. Bylsma has been using his fourth line quite often and it's because he trusts them with Legwand on it. He's also anchoring the top penalty kill unit up-front with O'Reilly, a unit that's shown steady improvement as of late."
Impressions on his play this year: The former 2nd overall pick who left Nashville as the leader in all career stats came to Buffalo in the twilight of his career and provided this young group of Sabres with steady play and low-key leadership. Nothing he did was earth-shattering, yet his professionalism rubbed off on those around him especially the likes of Buffalo's other second-overall picks, rookies Jack Eichel and Sam Reinhart.
Legwand anchored the fourth line and was on the top penalty kill unit with Ryan O'Reilly as the Sabres finished 9th in the league with an 82.6% kill-rate. As a depth/role player he did his part as well as could be expected. So well in fact that the Ottawa salary dump in the Robin Lehner trade proved more than simply a throw-in, locker room guy.
Questions moving forward: The parade of youth coupled with Buffalo's pursuit of additional top-six talent could push him out the door. Will there be room for him in a depth role, even at a markedly reduced salary?