A source told ESPN that the Avalanche retained 40 percent of McLeod's remaining salary and cap hit. The 32-year-old has another year left on his deal after this season at a $1.33 million cap hit.
McLeod has played in 28 games for Colorado this season and has recorded one goal and 52 penalty minutes. He has 1,359 penalty minutes, 66 goals and 51 games in 659 career games over 10 NHL seasons.
His eight fighting majors this season are the fourth-highest total in the league. McLeod had a league-high 12 fighting majors in 2015-16.
In an interview with ESPN on Thursday, Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic signaled that the retooling of the last-place franchise would commence.
"We've got all of our guys signed. We start getting flexibility next year to bring in more of our younger players who we're happy with playing in [AHL] San Antonio and give them an opportunity next year," Sakic told ESPN.
"But we do know going forward that we've got to get younger and faster," he added. "We've had conversations [with other teams] about our players. I want to do what's best for the organization long term. And that's going to be my focus moving forward."
So the first move was a minor one in dealing away McLeod, but much bigger moves are possible as the March 1 trade deadline looms as well as what shapes up to be a busy offseason for the Avs.
Girard, 22, was a fourth-round pick, 95th overall, by the Predators in 2013. He had eight points in 35 games for AHL Milwaukee this season.
The Predators and Avalanche face each other in Colorado on Saturday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.