Questionable as it may be right off the bat, know that Downie is a free agent after the season. He’s in the final season of a two-year, $5.3 million contract and can become an unrestricted free agent after the season. Having said that, Downie is an asset that shouldn’t have been traded away. End all be all, it sure does sound like a salary dump deal for the Avalanche.
However, the Avs expected more out Downie. After just two games in 2012-13, Downie tore his ACL and was out for the season. In 33 career games with the Avs since being acquired from the Lightning, Downie has 21 points (3G, 18A). Downie had scored 28 points in the 55 games through 2011-12 when the Avs acquired him from Tampa Bay. Downie had played on the second line with Duchene & Ryan O’Reilly, as well as some time with McGinn & MacKinnon. Downie had been leading all Avs forwards in ice time.
Now the Avs are getting Maxine Talbot. I’ve been a personal fan of his dating back to his Penguins days. Talbot, in his eighth season, is familiar with the big dance. When the Penguins returned to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second consecutive year against Detroit, Talbot scored both of the Penguins’ goals in the seventh and deciding game of the series to capture the franchise’s third Stanley Cup.
That’s what the Avs are getting with Talbot. “Maxime is a veteran forward who has won a Stanley Cup and has a lot of NHL experience,” Avalanche Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations Joe Sakic said to NHL.com. “We look forward to him bringing that experience to our club.” Talbot has 154 career points (77G, 77A) with the Penguins and Flyers over 515 games in nine seasons.
I imagine that most Avs dislike the move. Downie had become that of a fan favorite in the city of Denver, but contemplate this thought. The Flyers got the better overall player. That’s not very debatable. But I believe that the Talbot acquisition will help the Avs team more overall. I know that cup experience is deemed overrated by many, but it’s not something a young team can go without in the postseason. Honestly, the move to get Talbot tells me that Roy & Sakic believe this team has the talent to make it back to the playoffs, and the Talbot acquisition will prove dividends in the postseason.
Be patient, Avs fans. I know the move looks bad off the bat, but let’s see how this pans out. I trust Roy, Sakic, and Kroenke to do what’s best for this team.