22 February 2012
Yesterday I stepped away from twitter for about two hours to do some work and in that span Yzerman continued to grow his stockpile of draft picks. His latest move of trading Steve Downie away for basically a 1st round draft pick was a bit of a shock to most fans. It was expected to see Dominic Moore and Pavel Kubina be traded, but I don't think many saw Downie being the next to go.
Over the years Steve Downie has grown on this fanbase and most fans have become quite protective of him. And by protective, I mean really protective to the point that they have lashed out at me on twitter for hating once for a Downie for a douchbag moment that I called out.
He came with baggage when he was traded with Steve Eminger from Philadelphia to the Lightning in exchange for Matt Carle. He matured in his few seasons here and really showed that he can do more than a recklass player. His reputation did not go away quite as quickly in comparison to how quickly he gained supporters in Tampa, and Downie often getting reputation penalty calls made against him. But for the most part, I think it can be agreed upon that Steve Downie proved here in Tampa that he could actually play. He still had moments of mental lapses, but he also outperformed expectations of him as a plaery. So with any trade of a key player that was one of those character guys, there is a feeling of loss with his trade to Colorado.
Today Erik Erlendsson tweeted that Steven Stamkos, who was his road roommate, said that it was difficult to see a good friend be dealt today. So it's not just loss on the part of fans, but by players too.
But we all want this team to be better in the long-run and GM Steve Yzerman feels that drafting a lot of young players now is the way to do it. This particular trade was rather bold but there is no way to tell how much or little of an impact this will make until we revisit it in a few season. Downie was an RFA this year and Colorado has a need for a forward of his style, so this was a fit for both teams.
Puck Daddy wrote a post a little bit earlier on whether the Avalanche knew that Yzerman was turning Kyle Quincey into Detroit's 1st round pick. Interesting read for sure. From what I read in addition to Yzerman's answers during his press availability tonight, the answer seems to be yes but that in the end, this three-team deal achieved what each team was looking for. Colorado got a forward, Detroit got a defenceman and the Lightning got a most likely late 1st round draft pick.
In Yzerman's own words:
Initially, the discussions were with Colorado about Kyle Quincey. I thought more about him and talked to other general managers around the league as to what they were looking for and his name came up. You take everything into consideration: contract status, where they’re going to fit on your team, the type of player they are, and we had to think if we wanted Kyle Quincey or a first-round pick. I thought we should take the first-round pick.
And here is Yzerman on why he traded away Downie, Moore and Kubina:
Obviously, I traded three players for draft picks. These moves are made to make us better in the future. Any situation that comes along from today through the trade deadline and into the off-season is something we’re willing to look at. Our picks give us options. My goal is to win a Stanley Cup here, and I think we have to do some tough and difficult things along the way to do that. We need young players. We need to draft well and build that way, and this was an opportunity to take advantage of that and acquire more picks, and relatively high picks. The message to our players has been that I want to win a Stanley Cup and I’m going to do what I have to do to get us there.
When I got home last night and watched Sportsnet it bothered me that when they discussed this trade that a large portion of the highlights they showed of Downie was his fights in the league. Fighting is part of his game, but it's more part of his style of playing with emotion. He works really hard every shift on the ice and his ability to keep up with one of the best players in the league is what made him a favorite in Tampa.