Welcome to “get to know your Avs”! This feature will take a look at current Avalanche players (and maybe some staff, too) to give you an idea as to just who these guys are and what they mean to the Avalanche.
Yes, some (or most) of you will already know these guys but don’t be party poopers; nobody likes party poopers.
Today, a look at one of the more unpopular players in the league. Call a “rat”, an “antagonist”, and everything in between: Steve Downie
Who: Steve Downie
Nicknames: Downs is apparently it. Which is both totally understandable and kind of mean if you’re that type of person.
How He Came to Denver: Traded from Tampa Bay for defenseman Kyle Quincey
What he’s done: “Not that much” or “a lot” depending on how you look at things. He was acquired late in the 2011/12 season but when he finally made his Denver debut, he got to see the ice alongside Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O’Reilly, immediately flourishing with seven points in his first four games. He’d finish with 13 in 20 for the Avalanche, hindered by a shoulder issue that would require offseason surgery.
He would come back totally healthy by the time the lockout ended and the 2012/13 season started only to lose all but two games of the season to an ACL tear that needed surgery. Rough go of things for Downie since he’s gotten here but he’s shown that he can be an impact player if he’s got the talent around him and he surely will have that this year as the Avalanche are fairly loaded up front.
What he means to the team currently: This again depends on where he plays but he figures to slot into the top six, likely alongside Paul Stastny (and probably Alex Tanguay) on the second line. He’s not very big (5’11” 200) but he’s feisty as all hell and doesn’t back down from anyone. On top of that, he’s got the skill to go along with that and shows his worth with more talented players (the 20 games he had when he first arrived and the fact that he was the first player since Theo Fleury to have 20 goals and 200 PIMs while in Tampa).
He’ll likely be the one tasked with winning battles so that Stastny and Tanguay can work their offensive magic. He’ll also be the one to provide a physical presence on the line as the others aren’t exactly known as that type of player.
Downie needs to be disciplined, though. If he uses his aggressiveness and physicality the right way, he can be an ultimate pest; flying around the ice and getting into everyone’s head. But it’s when he starts taking unnecessary penalties that the trouble starts. If he can stay on the ice, he’ll be a big factor for the Avalanche.
What to expect: Downie has dealt with his fair share of injuries over his brief career so it could become an issue again this year, especially coming off back-to-back surgeries. Then again, what are the odds he could suffer another major injury like that?
His style of play will always take its toll on his body so look for Downie to miss ten or so games again this year but come closer to his first full year in Tampa when he scored 22 goals and 46 points. He’ll have the talent around him to thrive, so it’s on him if he wants to improve from the .55 points-per-game he’s been hovering around for the last few years.
Look for Downie to hit 20 goals once more – and be a huge troublemaker – on his way to another 45 point season, having a big impact on his linemates and proving his worth to the team.
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