The Wings acquired defenseman Kyle Quincey from the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday in a three-way trade. The Lightning, run by former Wings star Steve Yzerman, acquired Quincey from Colorado earlier in the day for forward Steve Downie, then shipped him to Detroit for the Wings' first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft and minor-league defenseman Sebastien Piche.
Quincey, 26, is expected to be in the lineup Thursday when the Wings take their NHL-record 23-game home winning streak into a matchup against the Vancouver Canucks.
"We like the addition of Quincey," general manager Ken Holland told the Detroit Free Press. "He's a guy who can play 20 minutes a night, he can play right defense, left defense, he can play in all situations. He can man a point on the second power-play unit. We believe this makes us deeper for the playoffs, and he's not a rental."
Quincey is returning to the team with which he began his NHL career. The Wings took him with the 132nd pick in the 2003 NHL Draft. He saw limited playing time and was lost on waivers to Los Angeles before the 2008-09 season The Kings traded him to Colorado in July 2010 as part of the package that sent Ryan Smyth to Edmonton.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pounder had five goals and 18 assists in 54 games with the Avs this season after missing most of last season with a shoulder injury.
The Wings have been looking for more toughness on the blue line. They signed veteran Mike Commodore last summer, but he hasn't been able to earn a regular berth. Rookie Jakub Kindl got off to a good start but has struggled during the past month.
It was the third trade in less than a week by the Lightning, who dealt center Dominic Moore to San Jose on Thursday and sent defenseman Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia.
Downie, 24, can become a restricted free agent this summer. He's in the final year of a two-year, $3.7 million deal and has 12 goals, 16 assists and 121 penalty minutes in 55 games this season.
"Our organization believes that Steve Downie will add grit and skill to our lineup offensively," Avalanche GM Greg Sherman said in a statement. "He plays the game with an edge and we look forward to seeing the immediate and future impact he can bring to our team."
The Lightning now have two first-round picks in 2012 along with a minimum of three selections in the second round.
"Obviously, I traded three players for draft picks and these moves are made to make us better in the future," Yzerman said before Tuesday night's game against Anaheim. "Any situation that comes along from here to the trade deadline to the future, we will look at. These draft picks give us options; they don’t help today, no question, but again, my goal is to win a Stanley Cup here and we have to do some tough things, some difficult things along the way to do that.
"We need young players. We need to draft well, we need to build that way and this was an opportunity to do that, to acquire some high picks, so that decision was made. The message to the player is that I want to win a Stanley Cup and I’ll do what I have to do to win a Stanley Cup."
Piche, 6-foot, 202 pounds, was assigned to the ECHL's Florida Everblades. He has played in 42 career AHL games with the Grand Rapids Griffins, recording five assists. This season he has played in 22 games, notching three assists. Piche signed with the Red Wings as a free agent on April 12, 2009.