#11 David Legwand (center/winger) – David Legwand might be one of two Americans on our team but I think he fell prey to the European player syndrome that I mentioned previously. He found himself on the receiving end of a handsome, long term contract at the end of last season so his drive to have a career year this season was probably fairly low. Game in, game out, I had a lot of issues with his lack of performance. He was, in a word, underwhelming. And yet, he somehow still managed to surprise me every once in a while with flashes of exceptional offensive ability. There were a few instances where he’d leave me saying to myself, “did I just see LEGWAND score a goal?!”. Also, who knew he’d be great on the wing? Some of his best moments of the year came when he found himself flanking the center and not playing it. Leggy gets a lot of flak from a lot of fans, myself included, but he has the ability to be a great player. Maybe next year, he’ll really rise to the occasion and be consistently good if Coach Trotz leaves him on the wing. I’d like to see that happen. We have a surplus of centers so we can afford to switch things up a bit.
#12 Scott Nichol (center) – Poor, poor Scooter. His season was abbreviated due to one seriously bad concussion. While he’s not a big name guy for us, I do believe his presence was missed while he was sidelined. Nichol has great penalty killing instincts and also creates a lot of jump on the penalty kill that sometimes leads to shorthanded goals. Yes, we have a lot of role players and penalty killers on this team but Nichol is just one of those guys that you want to succeed because he is so likable. He wasn’t too shabby in the faceoff circle either. I’ll miss him if he doesn’t get resigned over the summer.
#14 Radek BONK! (center) – Radek Bonk is not my favorite player on our team. I am often irritated by him when I see that he’s just kind of lazily hanging out on the ice DURING A GAME. I don’t think he has any pep in his step (or skate, maybe?) and that irks me to no end because you can’t/won’t/don’t win hockey games by being lazy. However, the man is amazing at face offs. So, maybe he channels all his on-ice energy into that one moment so he’s spent for anything else. And then sometimes, he goes and plays the clutch role and comes through with some big goal and I’m left screaming, “BONK!?”. Needless to say, the man has me scratching my head a lot because I can’t ever seem to figure out what game he’s playing. If we don’t keep him around for the next season, I’m pretty sure someone will need to be on suicide watch for Martin Erat though. Without another Czech on the team, he’ll have to actually umm, well, you know...use the English language when he speaks. God forbid.
#19 Jason Arnott (center) - Captain Jason Arnott of the Black Pea...err, just kidding. I had to say that again though because I really was amused every time I saw "Captain Jason Arnott" in print because it seemed so Pirates of the Caribbean-esque. In Jason's second full season as captain, I found him to be much more vocal this time around. A lot of people found that to be an unappealing quality of his but I actually enjoyed it. While sometimes it might have been a little controversial, Arnott often said what everyone else was thinking but was too polite to say. It was refreshing. On the ice, Jason put up some great numbers and even set a new franchise record for most goals scored by a single player in a season. But, I did find his performance to be somewhat inconsistent; he'd play a great few games and then go for a while with nothing to show for it. However, as the captain of a team who's most consistent quality was its ability to remain inconsistent, it almost made perfect sense for him to play this way. Jason makes a good captain but I'd still love to see what this team would look like under the leadership of someone like Shea Weber. Like I said before though, I don't expect anyone else to be captain as long as Arnott's a part of this team.
Next up: Ryan Suter, Jordin Tootoo, Jerred Smithson, Steve Sullivan