DETROIT (AP) — The Nashville Predators traded away their first draft pick, sending forward David Legwand to his hometown Detroit Red Wings in a deal at the NHL trade deadline Wednesday.
Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced the deal.
Legwand, who turns 34 in August, was the expansion Predators’ first pick in the 1998 draft as the No. 2 overall selection. He was tied with captain Shea Weber for the team scoring lead with 40 points, but his contract also is up at the end of this season. The Predators lost defenseman Ryan Suter in free agency in 2012 to Minnesota getting nothing in return.
Nashville got Patrick Eaves, a prospect and a third-round draft pick in exchange for the forward called the original Predator. Legwand played in a franchise-record 956 games for Nashville.
The Predators had no immediate comment.
Legwand gives the Red Wings someone to plug in as their No. 1 center on a banged-up roster. Holland said Legwand likely will center the top line with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist on Thursday night in his Detroit debut after the Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom’s jersey in a pregame ceremony.
Coming into this season, the 6-foot-2 Legwand already was the Predators’ career leader in points, goals, assists, game-winning goals and overtime points. He also is Nashville’s postseason leader with 28 points, 13 goals, 47 games played and game-winning goals (3).
He played in all of Nashville’s 62 games this season and had 10 goals and 30 assists. Legwand also picked up two penalties in the third period of Tuesday night’s 3-1 loss to Pittsburgh, the first giving the Penguins a power play that they scored to take a 2-1 lead.
Legwand practiced Wednesday with the Predators, and Nashville coach Barry Trotz said he hadn’t talked to his forward about the trade deadline.
“This is home for him,” Trotz said. “He’s our first pick franchise-wise, and I know he loves Nashville. I know he knows the situation. He’s been a really productive guy in terms of being you know what you’re going to get every night every year from Leggy. He’s in that 40-50 point range every year, and he’s durable. He hasn’t missed very many games. … He’s got a lot of game left.”