Last week's trade of Steve Downie to the Flyers in exchange for Max Talbot is still a bit of a head scratcher. Despite what a lot of people might think of Downie, the Flyers absolutely got the better of the deal here, and frankly it's a bit confusing that a former first-round pick was traded for a glorified fourth-liner with a lengthy, relatively expensive contract. How did the Flyers do this?
Well, they might have Downie's fiery attitude to thank for it. Elliotte Friedman of CBC was on the FAN 590 up in Toronto today, where he talked about a hit laid on Gabriel Landeskog back during training camp. Basically, Downie was tripped up by Landeskog and tweaked his knee a bit. Coming off of reconstructive knee surgery, Downie was pissed off at Landeskog's apparent recklessness and decided to voice his displeasure in the form of a huge hit.
Landeskog, obviously, is a prized piece of the puzzle out there in Colorado, and from that point on, the Avs were pretty certain that Downie would be gone at some point this year. Here's Friedman:
I was told that basically the Avalanche had decided that when that happened and Downie was kind of unapologetic about it, that the time was going to come when he was going to get dealt.
I believe Philly was specifically targeted because they knew that Philly would probably have interest, knowing the guy. And the other thing too is that one of Patrick Roy's best friends and coaching buddies is a guy by the name Benoit Groulx. Benoit Groulx and Max Talbot went to the Memorial Cup Finals together and I think Roy had some advice that he was the kind of guy he wanted, and Colorado specifically targeted that deal.
It worked out, obviously. Friedman went on to tell a story about a tragedy in Downie's childhood that I was unaware of, and it's the sort of thing that can make you view Downie in a bit of a different light.
He went through a pretty traumatic experience early in his life. His father and him were in a car accident and his father, who Downie was very close with, was killed, and you know, he saw it. I think that there are people in the game who have tremendous empathy because of what he went through and what that can do to a person.
It doesn't always excuse what he does. He needs to keep himself under control on the ice and he's a guy who's been suspended for 20 games before, but I think there are people who see that this is a guy who's overcome a lot, some very long odds to get where he is. I don't know if they always accept what he does but they have an understanding that he's been through a lot and maybe deserves a bit more rope than some other guys would get.
Does that story change your opinion of Downie at all? And how do you feel about the news that the Avalanche targeted the Flyers for that specific deal?
h/t Matt Brigidi