David Legwand will likely be centering Detroit’s top line today with Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist after being traded to his hometown team on Wednesday.
NASHVILLE — David Poile remembers only too well not getting anything out of Ryan Suter in 2012 when the Nashville general manager couldn't sign the defenseman to a new contract.
He didn't let it happen again.
The Predators made their biggest move this season at the NHL trade deadline Wednesday sending David Legwand, known as the original Predator, to his hometown Detroit Red Wings for two forwards Patrick Eaves and Calle Jarnkrok, and a draft pick in June.
"I certainly didn't like the fact going back a few years the Ryan Suter situation when we didn't get anything for an unrestricted free agent," Poile said. "I think we need to try to manage our assets as best possible and the fact that David was going to be unrestricted and we have no guarantee we'll be able to sign him after the season, (trading) made a lot of sense for the organization and for the future."
Suter signed with Minnesota in July, 2012.
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.
His contract also is up at the end of this season, and Poile said he couldn't give Legwand a commitment for the future.
The forward attracted attention from a few teams, according to Poile. Legwand was involved in the decision because he had to waive his no-trade contract.
"We probably found the best fit for David and gets to go play in his hometown for the Detroit Red Wings," Poile said.
Along with Eaves, 29, and Jarnkrok, 22, Nashville gets a third-round draft pick that becomes a second-round pick if the Red Wings make the playoffs for the 23rd straight time, according to Detroit general manager Ken Holland.
Legwand played in a franchise-record 956 games for Nashville.
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 today in his Detroit debut after the Red Wings retire Nicklas Lidstrom's jersey in a pregame ceremony.
The Predators had hoped Legwand could appear at their news conference, but the forward was busy packing for his trip to join his new team.
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 played in all of Nashville's 62 games this season and had 10 goals and 30 assists.
Columbus gets Frattin, 2 draft picks
COLUMBUS — The Los Angeles Kings have struggled to score goals all season, and few NHL players do it better than a healthy, hungry Marian Gaborik.
The Blue Jackets got right wing Matt Frattin and two conditional draft picks for Gaborik, who's finally healthy after an injury-plagued season.
Gaborik, who turned 32 on Feb. 24, has three 40-goal seasons in his career and seven 30-goal seasons.
Gaborik was making $7.5 million a year for the Blue Jackets, who are paying half of his $1.9 million in remaining salary. The Jackets also landed what's likely to be a second-round pick and a third-rounder if the Kings win their first-round playoff series or re-sign Gaborik.
"Our goal was to protect the future of the franchise in the best possible way that we could," said Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen, saying it had been apparent for a while that Gaborik would not re-sign with the club. "We're a young team, a blue-collar team, a hard-working team. And he's a finesse, skilled player that wasn't the greatest fit. I'll take responsibility for that."
Gaborik has missed games with a sprained knee and a broken collarbone this season, limiting him to just six goals in 22 games and keeping him out of the Olympics.
Frattin has two goals and four assists in 40 games during his only season with the Kings, who made him a healthy scratch in eight of the last 10 games.
His last appearance was on Feb. 6 — against the Blue Jackets.