When the Colorado Avalanche got off to a 10-1 start, everyone was saying, “break up the Avalanche.” Management didn’t break up the team, but they did make a trade. Out the door went Steve Downie, who had seven points in 10 games with the Avs, in exchange for Max Talbot, who had two points in 11 games for a Flyers team that only had three wins. The trade was immediately scrutinized. “How could the Avs deal one of their scoring forwards for a third line penalty killer?” and “Why mess with something that has worked so well?” The answer was simple: First; the Avs wanted to save payroll. Talbot’s contract pays him $1.75 million for this season and the next two while Downie was owed $2.75 million for this season and could’ve become a free agent. Downie likely would’ve walked away for nothing since the Avs likely wanted to save money for their younger and better players.
Second; Downie is injury prone and plays with too much of an edge. Downie missed essentially the entire 2013 season with a torn ACL and had a shoulder injury the year before that. On top of that, he has a history of taking bad penalties that cost the team and getting suspended. In his 10 game run with the Avs, he had 36 penalty minutes.
Third; the Avs wanted veteran leadership. The knock on the Avs heading into the season and during their hot start were that they were too young and inexperienced. Aside from Alex Tanguay, Cory Sarich, and Jean-Sebastian Giguere; the Avs were a team filled with players barely able to order a beer. In Talbot, they acquired a 30-year old player with a Stanley Cup ring and clutch scoring ability.
In the end, things definitely worked out for the Avs. Talbot finished the year with seven goals and 25 points in an Avalanche uniform while Downie only had three goals and 17 points as a member of the Flyers. Tablot also stayed out of the box and healthy, while Downie ended with over 100 PIM and missed some guys with a concussion.