Now, let’s rewind and try to break this down.
It really shouldn’t be a surprise to hear that Legein is on the move again, even with this trade being made strictly to get the number of contracts they have within the limit. The once-highly touted prospect is now joining his third organization since being drafted in the second round by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2007.
A brief retirement and so-called attitude problems have stalled his hockey career and it seems like teams just don’t know what to do with him anymore.
His time with the Adirondack Phantoms started off relatively well and he seemed to be getting the fresh start he needed. He scored 24 goals and 34 points in 71 games during the 2009-10 season including numerous multi-goal games and strong poise on the penalty kill.
After the annual turnover that most AHL teams go through, it looked like Legein was in a good position to take a leadership role on the team for 2010-11. But that also went quickly downhill.
The Phantoms had a highly publicized but much less talked about falling out with Pat Maroon in October 2010 that led to his eventual trade to the Anaheim Ducks. Work ethic or lack thereof, bad attitude and an inability to get along with the head coach seemed to be the major reasons for Maroon’s career with the Flyers organization to come to an end.
On top of all that, Legein’s name was dragged in with the problem and it was reported that he had been given a warning to shape up or be shipped out himself. Since that incident, he became somewhat of an after thought, quickly falling out of the Flyers’ plans and struggled to see ice-time whether he was healthy or not.He finished the season with just five goals, 17 points and a grand total of 41 games played due to injuries and learning the true meaning of being a healthy scratch. He even had a brief weekend stint in the ECHL with the Greenville Road Warriors, a move that seemed to be one last attempt at a wake-up call.
History and number aside, there is still a viable prospect in Legein. He’s not the biggest guy on the ice but he has the kind of speed that kills, reliable penalty killing prowess, a knack for scoring shorthanded goals and an uncanny ability to get under the skin of his opponents.
It seems that all he needs to thrive is being in a situation that fits for both him and the organization itself. The way he plays the game is very similar to Chad LaRose from the Carolina Hurricanes, who was undrafted but played his way onto the team with a lot of heart and determination. Next thing you know, he’s lifting the Stanley Cup in his rookie season and has had a regular spot in the line-up ever since.
But I digress. A lot of people probably think Legein has run out of chances to start over and simply ruined it for himself. While there’s obviously onus on him to step up his game and prove he wants it, there has to be equal dedication from the team and organization he’s playing for.
If the Kings want to turn him into a project and help him rebuild a career that should have been there much earlier, they need to do it delicately and with a lot of patience. That’s not to say they’re supposed to hold his hand and spoon-feed him the whole way, but they can’t just expect him to do a complete overhaul overnight.
It’s been a long time since Legein was ripping it up in junior hockey as an IceDog and being a media darling for TSN with Team Canada, but there’s still plenty of time for him to become the player everyone once expected him to be.