A Brief Commentary on the Steve Downie Trade

No matter the situation, it always surprises me how people think without context. I've spoken on this issue before, that one must (tentatively) judge decisions in the contexts of needs and limitations of the situation.

Today, the Colorado Avalanche dealt Kyle Quincey to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Steve Downie. The Lightning then flipped Quincey to Detroit for a 1st rounder. Hey-oh!

Most of the feedback I've seen has been negative. I'd like to contend that this deal is a good one for Greg Sherman and the Avalanche.

A quick look at the Avalanche roster (pre-trade) shows that we have a healthy amount of defensemen, obviously. We knew one of them was gonna be moved, and we knew it was fairly likely it could be Quincey. A lot of people contended it SHOULD be Quincey. So, we were dealing from a position within which we have a surplus. However, when you look at the roster, we clearly needed size up front. In terms of grit, we only had Cody McLeod, and in terms of power forwards we have Landeskog, Winnik (not a scorer by any means) and MAYBE Jones (and we all know how he's been this season). We needed a guy who could rough it up and be a pest in the offensive zone, and battle for the puck. Galiardi was supposed to be, but hasn't been, that guy. He's been great in terms of grittiness, but not in terms of production. Downie has 28 points this season, good for 5th on the current Avs roster in scoring. We need a player like Downie. As Aaron Musick remarked on twitter, Downie made him think of Claude Lemieux in that he could get under the opponent's skin, and also score. The Avs clearly needed a guy like Downie.

Meanwhile, Quincey was our dman with the highest ice time. However, he hasn't been spectacular as of late, I'd argue he's been average. He was testy when he was injured and not getting playing time earlier in the season. He has 23 points that will be missed on the defensive side, but we also have Elliott (who will probably be with the club full time now), not to mention Barrie, and EJ (who has been playing like his number one defenseman label as of late). Quincey was also overpaid, as we all know.

So most people are looking at this as "Does Downie = Quincey"? If you consider the needs and the circumstances, yes.

Now, more people are concerned that Quincey was THEN flipped to Detroit for a first rounder, and that is their biggest gripe with it. If they could get a 1st for him, why couldn't we? Well:

  • Quincey's not worth a first, the Wings offered it because we all know they don't need theirs this year.
  • I'd consider Downie is better than the 29th/30th pick in the draft, which is probably what that pick will be.
  • Having traded off Pavel Kubina, the Lightning needed a dman (especially with their goaltending situation), so the Wings would have had to put a little more oomph on that kind of deal to get him.
  • The Wings are comfortably in the playoffs and as such are buyers, so that kind of pick is more expendable, and they did not want to give up any actual players for fear of breaking chemistry. I suppose they could have included a minor league guy to go with a second instead, but I guess that's up to people who are truly idiosyncratic to decide.
  • We would not have been able to get that return for Quincey in OUR context; we were dealing from a position of surplus.
  • We needed some salary coming back in the deal; remember how close we are to the cap.

So I invite all Avs fans to once again look past the knee jerk reaction, because the bottom line is we still have a good defense, still have offensive dmen, and now we have the gritty tough pest that we've needed for quite a while.

As for the next week, I believe this sets up more deals, who knows who will be dealt, though. I'd like to see some guys on the 3rd/4th lines who can actually score, personally; when our third or fourth line is on the ice right now, I always find myself counting down til the Stastny/Radar/Duchene lines are out, since I know we can't score with any others. is a fan community, allowing members to post their own thoughts and opinions on the Colorado Avalanche and hockey in general. These views and thoughts may not be shared by the editors of

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