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2015-16 Buffalo Sabres Grades: David Legwand

The Buffalo Sabres 2015-16 season featured plenty of new faces that helped the team finally dig their way out of the league basement. We're grading everybody who played at least 20 games for the Sabres this year, from Bogosian to Ullmark.

Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Age: 35

Contract: $3,000,000, free agent, was under contract through 2015-16.

Introduction: The veteran forward was a stabilizing presence in the Buffalo Sabres' lower six, playing just under ten minutes a game in 79 appearances during the season, also making him one of the more durable players on the team. Legwand came to the Sabres as part of the trade that brought goaltender Robin Lehner to Buffalo from the Ottawa Senators.

He has been a highly-regarded defensive minded player in the League, and has been a role player on the Sabres mentoring the young core of the side. No other forward has nearly as much time on ice shorthanded as Legwand, and he leads the team in most penalty kill categories including shorthanded shots and hits.

Key Stat:

-20.26: This is Legwand's ZSO% (Fraction of Off vs Def Zone Starts), and is the lowest number of all the forwards, signifying how highly coach Dan Byslma valued his defensive abilities. As a result, Legwand also had one of the lowest PDO's (On Ice Shot Pct + On Ice Sv Pct) on the team with 97.86% (see comments below for further fancy stats conversations).

Thumbs Up: Legwand, the #2 overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft by the Nashville Predators, was at his best on the penalty kill and in defensive zone starts. While his speed is not what it used to be, he had plenty of chances on breakaways during the kill.

Thumbs Down: A deeper look at the analytics shows that a lot of his time was sheltered minutes against the opposition's lower lines. The forward has the lowest Corsi teammates score (CorT% - 45.66%) and Corsi opponents score (CorC% - 49.68%) of all the Sabres.

Memorable Moment: Legwand scored five goals this season, including one of the NHL's best knuckleballs ever that thoroughly embarrassed Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Joonas Korpisalo from far, far away while shorthanded, of course.

Voting: Using the good old grade school system of A, B, C, D, F, with A representing a great season (for the Sabres) C an average season, and F a very poor season, grade David Legwand on his performance this year.