DETROIT >> In desperate need of a center, the Detroit Red Wings went out and obtained one right before the NHL trade deadline.
The Wings acquired David Legwand from the Nashville Predators for Patrick Eaves, a prospect and a third-round draft pick.
The Wings are hurting at center.
Three of them they thought would be available to make a run at the playoffs are hobbled by injuries – Pavel Datsyuk (knee), Darren Helm (upper body) and Stephen Weiss (sports hernia surgery) – are on the shelf.
All three won’t play Thursday when the Wings host the Colorado Avalanche.
Add them to a list that already included Henrik Zetterberg, who’ll miss the rest of the regular season after back surgery.
Detroit didn’t want to trade any of its youngsters inside the locker room if any deal is going to be made.
“When you increase your value internally, I guess what I would say is I’m not in any big hurry to get rid of these people,” Wings coach Mike Babcock said after practice at Joe Louis Arena. “I guess it depends on where you’re from and what your thought process is, to me if you want to have a championship team for a long period of time you have to build it.”
The youth at forward inside the Wings’ room include Gustav Nyquist (15 goals, 13 assists), Tomas Tatar (14 goals, 12 assists), Riley Sheahan (four goals, eight assists), Tomas Jurco (four goals, five assists) and Luke Glendening (four assists).
On the blue line, it’s Danny DeKeyser (three goals, 11 assists).
“And you’re not building it by getting rid of your young guys, you have to build it,” Babcock said. “When you get to a certain point then you can move assets. We’re not at that point.”
Legwand, 33, has 10 goals and 30 assists this season for Nashville in 62 games.
Holland said all the time leading up to the trade deadline they weren’t interested in a rent-a-player, but that indeed could be what Legwand is. He’s in the final year of deal that averaged out at $4.5 million a season.
Legwand is a Detroit native, attending Grosse Pointe North High School.
He also played his junior career with the Plymouth Whalers.
His final year of juniors he won the Red Tilson Award as the Ontario Hockey League’s most outstanding player after totaling 54 goals and 51 assists.
He was drafted second overall by the Predators in the 1998 draft, behind Vincent Lecavalier.
Legwand holds every franchise record in Nashville, including goals (210), assists (356) and games played (956).