Jackson Legro is doing everything he can to make sure he’s ready for college hockey.
Standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing close to 200 pounds, Legro knew he wanted to develop the physical side of his game more this season, making the jump from the USPHL and Tier I to junior hockey. After a camp with the Maine Nordiques (NAHL), the defenseman moved to the NOJHL. Just one month into the season he was traded, but has landed in a great spot with the Espanola Express, where his offensive production has also begun to take off (7 points in 10 games from the blue line).
“Bigger bodied defender that plays a solid shut-down style,” our scouts noted at Hockey Night in Boston. “He manages the puck well and is at his best when he keeps it simple and headman’s the puck quickly. Leans on forwards in his own zone and is tough around the net.”
NZ: How did you first fall in love with the game as a kid?
Legro: “My dad grew up playing hockey and played at Connecticut College, so as soon as I was able to he had me in skates. It took me a little while to find my love for it, but once I did I knew that’s all I wanted to do.:
NZ: How would you describe yourself as a player? What are your strengths?
Legro: “I would describe myself as a solid two-way defenseman. I feel like I can be used in all situations out there and that my biggest strength is the D-side of the game, but I can also help produce offensively. I like to play physical and use my size to my advantage as well.”
NZ: At the same time, what are some things you’re looking to improve this year?
Legro: “I’m really looking to improve my foot speed and my D-zone awareness this year. I feel like those things have been improving but there are still some things I need to work on.”
NZ: What made Lebanon Valley the place you wanted to play your college hockey?
Legro: “Coach Parsons was awesome in the recruiting process and when I was on my visit I felt really welcomed at the school. I loved the campus and they have what I want to study. The UCHC is an awesome league as well and it’s a battle with every team you play.”
NZ: You’re a New Hampshire kid and chose this year to move to play juniors in Canada. What was the mindset behind that decision and where do you think it’s helped your game the most?
Legro: “It started when I was at the Maine Nordiques 30-man camp. After I got released, I had to make a decision whether or not I wanted to stay home or go north of the border. The NOJHL is a very tough and physical league and I knew that would prepare me for the next level. I’m playing against kids that are in and out of OHL lineups, which is a big change from playing back in New England. Also having to battle for your job every day and knowing that you can be traded at any moment has made me really see what has to be done to play at the next level and that nothing is guaranteed.”
NZ: It seems like your offensive totals picked up after you joined Espanola … is that team just a better fit for your style?
Legro: “Blind River was a great start to my junior career and Coach Brick was awesome. Unfortunately, they were pretty stacked on the back end and I was traded at the end of October.
“Espanola has been awesome and I’m playing in so many more situations like the PP and PK, which I wasn’t in Blind River. I think my confidence definitely has gone up and I am more comfortable with the puck and making good plays. Coach Clancy has been awesome and put his trust in me since the first day I got here and I think that is why I’m playing a lot better.”