The Detroit Red Wings acquired center David Legwand from the Nashville Predators in a trade Wednesday for forward Patrick Eaves, prospect Calle Jarnkrok and a third-round draft choice.
Legwand, who has played his entire 15-season NHL career with the Predators, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Legwand, who grew up in the Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Woods, waived his no-trade clause to join the Red Wings.
"We’ve acquired a local boy, so we’re thinking if we want to keep the player beyond this year we think it's a very reasonable to happen," Detroit general manager Ken Holland told the team website. "He had to trade a no-move to come here, so obviously he wanted to come home.”
The Red Wings are without captain Henrik Zetterberg (back surgery), Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Stephen Weiss (sports hernia) and Daniel Cleary (knee) and in need of some offensive help. Darren Helm also was injured in a game Tuesday against the New Jersey Devils.
“When you look at our center ice with Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Helm and with Weiss, the uncertainty of where we’re at," Holland said, "we felt it was important to get a bona fide center-iceman."
Legwand, the second pick of the 1998 NHL Draft, the first pick in Nashville history, was tied for the Predators scoring lead this season with 40 points (10 goals). He has 210 goals and 566 points in 956 NHL games.
"He's good defensively," Holland said. "He's a guy that puts up 50-60 points and he's an established, legitimate NHL player who can kill penalties and can play against anybody from the other team. That's sort of been his roles."
Eaves, in the final year of the three-year contract, had two goals and five points in 25 games this season. He has been a healthy scratch for Detroit coach Mike Babcock the past five games.
The 29-year-old right wing has 74 goals and 146 points in 439 NHL games spanning nine seasons. He spent the past five seasons with Detroit. He played parts of two seasons for the Carolina Hurricanes and parts of three seasons for the Ottawa Senators.
Jarnkrok was the Red Wings’ second-round pick in the 2010 draft (No. 51). He has one year remaining on his entry-level contract, and there's a possibility he could return home and play in Sweden rather than stay in the minors.
"I think he's going to play in the NHL but there's so many people that he's behind here that I don't know when he was going to get the opportunity," Holland said. "Young players get anxious; they want to play in the NHL. If they can't play in the NHL here they want an opportunity elsewhere."