Here's your Flyers shocker of the day: Former Philly draft pick Steve Downie is coming back to town, and Paul Holmgren has sent Max Talbot to the Colorado Avalanche in return. The deal is official.
It's a good move. Yes, Talbot is an extremely likable player and he fills a lot of roles for the Flyers, but the reality is that he's just sort of redundant on this team. Adam Hall can play the fourth-line center role, and the Flyers have too many wingers that just push Talbot down the depth chart.
It's not smart to pay a guy $1.75 million per season to play as a glorified fourth liner with some PK responsibility, especially when that contract lasts through the 2015-16 season. That's ultimately what Talbot is, even though the coaching staff has played him elsewhere in the lineup at times throughout his Flyers career. The Flyers have plenty of forwards who can play on the penalty kill, so losing Talbot's contributions there shouldn't be much of a concern.
Downie, meanwhile, is an unrestricted free agent this coming summer. He earns slightly more than Talbot at $2.65 million against the cap, but he's two years younger and can put up a few extra points. He's prone to going over the edge sometimes and is never going to light the scoreboard up, but he can play just about anywhere in the lineup and has solid two-way ability. He's not just a face puncher, contrary to what some might believe. He immediately becomes the Flyers leading scorer, tied with Vincent Lecavalier with seven points, because lolflyers.
At the very least, this frees up some salary room for the next few years. He's a touch more expensive in the short-term, but the Flyers will save money long-term and are probably getting the better player in the deal. At worst, Downie plays like crap, it's a marginal loss for the Flyers on the ice this year, and they can just cut those losses come the summer.