On February 21st, six days prior to the deadline, the Colorado Avalanche acquired forward Steve Downie from the Tampa Bay Lightning in a trade that sent defenseman Kyle Quincey to the Detroit Red Wings. Tampa Bay received Detroit's 2012 first-round pick in addition to AHL player Sebastien Piche.
The Avalanche, who are still without a 2012 first-round pick, got a rugged forward and former first-round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, 29th overall in 2005, in Steve Downie. In 252 career NHL games, Downie has amassed 124 points and 638 penalty minutes.
Downie's 28 points this season are good for fifth on the Avalanche team, and his 121 penalty minutes are only 15 shy of team leader Cody McLeod.
The 24-year-old Downie could prove to be a valuable addition to the Avs' forward lines, which have been exposed as thin all season long. He provides grit and toughness but has a history of illegal hits and suspensions, so he will certainly need to control himself to avoid unnecessary penalties and suspensions.
If he could provide secondary scoring, however, it could greatly help the Avs' playoff chances.
As I mentioned in my now-outdated piece on Kyle Quincey, he was a valuable defenseman, and I feel the Avs may have been able to get slightly more for him than they did, no disrespect to Downie. I'm not going to go all Peter Stastny here or anything. I had the same feeling last summer when they unloaded fan favorite John-Michael Liles to Toronto for a second-round pick.
Both Quincey and Downie will be restricted free agents after this season, so it'll be interesting to see what happens with both of these players. Quincey did feel a bit slighted his first time around in Detroit after he was not given a Stanley Cup ring. I'm sure those feelings would dissipate if he were to get a Cup with them this year. With Todd Bertuzzi on their roster, I certainly hope they do not.
Matt Duchene tweeted, "Good luck in TB Quince, all the best!", which was followed by, "I mean Detroit, haha!"
I don't know if he's been called it thus far in his career, but I'm proposing the nickname "Iron Man" for Downie here in Colorado. Downie...Robert Downey, Jr...see what I've done there?
The questions now remain: Will Downie make his Avalanche debut tomorrow night against the Kings? How much of an asset will he be to Colorado down the stretch? And what else will the Shermanator do in the next six days?