Only four days after the New York Islanders and Buffalo Sabres swapped scoring wingers, the Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers have exchanged physical forwards in a deal that sends Steve Downie back to the franchise that drafted him in 2005. In return, the Avs received former Cup winning grinder Max Talbot.
Steve Downie is a pretty good player, however, unlike most good NHLers, he seems to overstay his welcome quickly. The 26-year old right winger has been traded three times over the last five seasons.
Downie has been doing his thing this season – contributing offensively while acting as a thorn in the side of his opponents on a nightly basis. The native of Newmarket, Ontario has 1 goal, 6 assists, and 36 penalty minutes through 11 games of action.
The move is an interesting one by Flyers GM Paul Holmgren, who was responsible for shipping Downie out of town about a year into his tenure as general manager in 2008. Perhaps the Flyers always regretted dealing Downie in the first place.
Downie has always found a way to contribute while playing with talented players. He performed strongly for the Tampa Bay Lightning on a line with Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis in 2009-10. As mentioned above, he was a key component on the Duchene/O’Reilly line this season in Colorado.
In Max Talbot the Avalanche get a player with Stanley Cup winning experience. Talbot hoisted the Cup in 2009 as a member of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He scored two very important goals in Game 7 the 09′ finals, beating Chris Osgood while ensuring his team its first championship title since 1992.
If the Avalanche fancy themselves ready for the prime time of a Stanley Cup playoffs run, Talbot is a useful addition to the roster. His experience becomes an asset on a youthful Colorado club.
In the end, this appears to be a good hockey deal. The Flyers needed to shake things up. They presently dwell at the bottom of the NHL’s most unimpressive division, the Metropolitan. With only 3 wins after 11 games played, the Flyers season is quickly becoming a nightmare they may not be able to wake up from.
The addition of Downie helps re-establish an old Flyers identity that has been lost in recent years. In fact, since Mike Richards and Jeff Carter were dealt away on the same day in the 2011 off-season, the Flyers have lacked the punch and mean streak that has often defined them since their glory days of the 1970’s. Steve Downie certainly plays with punch, as well as, a mean streak.
Max Talbot’s second goal in Game 7 of the 2009 Stanley Cup finals.