Where Does Steve Downie Fit In?

Talbot and Downie

Maxime Talbot (left) and Steve Downie (right) switch places in an early season swap.

When the Flyers drafted Steve Downie in the 1st round back in 2005, he entered the organization as a reckless, rough-and-tumble pest, with an underdeveloped offensive game. As he returns to the Flyers 7-8 years later, he appears to be more of a finished product; and that’s certainly a good thing. Downie wasn’t brought in here to replace Maxime Talbot as a key defensive forward, no, he’s here to jumpstart the likes of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek.

Downie, 26, has one 20-goal season and has spent a lot of his time in Colorado playing with the likes of star forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly. In fact, he enters Philadelphia with 7 points this season (which would be tied with Lecavalier for first on this team). Think of Downie as a younger Steve Ott or Scott Hartnell- a mucker with the necessary skills to compliment the playmakers up front.

When the trade first went down, I personally wasn’t a fan; afterall, Max Talbot is a warrior and an ace penalty killer. But the more I thought about the deal, the more I liked it. This isn’t the 20-year old, undisciplined Downie we saw during his first go around. This is a more polished Downie with the ability to provide space for Giroux, Lecavalier, and Voracek, etc., while also putting up some points himself.

Also, if Downie is a complete failure then the Flyers can simply allow him to walk after the season (as he’s a potential UFA). No one knows exactly how this trade will turn out, which team “won”, but tonight’s game against Washington (minus Ovechkin) should provide some important insight. So tune in people, it’s time to see if Steve Downie is the answer to our prayers. He’s no Thomas Vanek, but he can certainly provide a spark.

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