The name of Nathan Légaré is not the best known to hockey fans. But in the middle, his name rhymes with professionalism, determination, speed and love at first sight. What to put water in the mouth of the supporters of the Canadian.
Acquired on Sunday, Légaré remains the enigma of this surprise three-team transaction.
“He is an extraordinary person. He invests body and soul in his team, says his former American League teammate Pierre-Olivier Joseph. I think he will have a lot of fun in Montreal, with his family around. We fantasize about being able to play with this team growing up. I’m excited for him. »
“We spoke right after his trade, adds the defender of the Penguins, who played a game of ball hockey with tennis players. I think he had mixed emotions. In the end, I’m sure he will be happy and that he will bring great energy to Montreal.
“Serious and at his post”
From his first steps in the QMJHL, Légaré stood out for his work ethic, which convinced the Penguins to draft the right winger in the third round in 2019.
“He is a hard worker and a good person. He always tries to outdo himself. He is serious and in his business”, relates the Register Martin Cadorette, one of his former assistant coaches with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.
If his former Team Quebec and Val-d’Or Foreurs coach Daniel Renaud had one word to describe Légaré, it would be “professional”: “in the way he works, he trains, he eats, it’s a guy who will do anything to achieve his ends.
“I loved Nathan, both the person and the hockey player. He will accept what you are going to ask him and he will do everything to help the team. He’s a very guy coachablehe wants to improve,” said Renaud, now at the helm of the Shawinigan Cataractes.
In his first two seasons as a professional, Légaré had 16 and 19 points. In the QMJHL, the 22-year-old Montrealer has already had campaigns of 35 and 45 goals.
“He’s a born goalscorer,” said Joseph. We saw in the major junior how dangerous he can be in the pocket.
“He’s really a guy with character, who is excessively strong, describes Renaud. He has a good physique, but in addition, he plays with it. He is able to be intimidating on the ice, he wins his battles one on one.
At 6 feet and 205 pounds, Légaré knows how to defend himself. He even spent 76 minutes in the penalty box last season, with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.
“Even if he does not produce for a game, he’s going to be really useful, because he puts a lot of pressure, he finishes his checks, he blocks shots. He’s a warrior,” assures his former teammate in Val-d’Or Alexandre Doucet.
Doucet learned a lot from Légaré when they shared a hotel room during the pandemic.
“He can help young people. He’s a good boss. He does everything well, his work ethic is impeccable, ”explains the prospect of the Detroit Red Wings.
A day in the NHL
Légaré is not guaranteed a position with the Canadiens, but whether he plays in Montreal or Laval, Renaud is convinced that he “will have a positive impact both on the ice and in the locker room”.
And all these beautiful people agree that he will one day play in the NHL.
“Anything is possible if he has a good camp, claims Doucet. With his strength, speed and excellent throw, you never know what can happen. He can help anywhere. It may create a surprise.
” For him, Sky is the limitas they say,” adds his good friend Joseph.
In light of people who know him well, Nathan Légaré is a perfect match for the type of player Kent Hughes is looking for.