It’s been a busy day for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The morning started with Quincey as a member of the Colorado Avalanche. By roughly 4:00pm EST, Quincey had been traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for forward Steve Downie. Some 30 minutes later, Tampa Bay had flipped Quincey to Detroit in exchange for a first round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche.
Got all that? Our head’s are still spinning too (as is Quincey’s, we imagine), but we will do our best to break down what essentially was a rare trade involving three teams.
The man at the heart of all this is young defenseman Kyle Quincey. Quincey had been enjoying a fairly successful season with the Colorado Avalanche, at least on a personal level, scoring five goals and adding 18 assists over the course of 54 games. He appeared to be creating a solid partnership with Erik Johnson, giving the Avalanche a pairing with plenty of offensive punch.
However, Colorado has been on the fringe of playoff contention all season long and ultimately felt it was time to make a deal after the team’s 5-1 loss at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.
Colorado sends Kyle Quincey to Tampa Bay in exchange for Steve Downie.
Steve Downie jumps from a team that was 11th in the Eastern Conference to the team that is 11th in the Western Conference. Downie, known mostly for his physicality, has had a solid year scoring 28 points (12 goals, 16 assists) in 55 games.
From a financial side of things, Quincey makes $3.25 million in 2011-12 and is a restricted free agent at the end of the year. Downie is making $1.85 million in 2011-12 and also will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year.
However, Quincey’s time with Tampa Bay was brief – all of 30ish minutes – which brings us to …
Tampa Bay trades Kyle Quincey to Detroit in exchange for a first round pick and prospect Sebastien Piche.
History will fondly remember Quincey’s time with Tampa Bay.
This is a pretty brilliant move by Tampa Bay. The Lightning desperately need a goaltender – an area they said they would likely address over the summer. Now, they flipped Steve Downie for a minor league prospect defenseman and a pick that they could use to fill their void in net. Essentially, the Lightning moved a part they weren’t planning to retain beyond 2011-12 and used it to address a need they had to address. Very smart business.
For Detroit, the Red Wings addressed what was a looming question at their blueline. Now the team has a bit more depth if Nicklas Lidstrom decided to retire or if Brad Stuart / Mike Commodore decide to try out free agency.
Here I think we have two winners and one loser. I think Tampa Bay came out as the top dog, barely edging out the Detroit Red Wings. Both clubs addressed pressing needs for a relatively low cost. Granted, Detroit probably paid a bit more but they have plenty of money coming off the books to allow them to easily give Quincey a new contract. The Lightning can now use their newly acquired pick to snatch their prized goaltending prospect out of the draft, if they so desire.
By process of elimination, you likely concluded that I’m picking the Avalanche as the losers of this deal. First, it seems that the Avalanche didn’t want to deal Quincey to a Western Conference opponent. If they would have, they probably would have dealt with Detroit directly. Of course, Tampa Bay went and dealt him to the West, all but rubbing Colorado’s nose in it given rivalry that has existed between the Colorado and Detroit franchises.
I’m not saying Steve Downie isn’t a good player, he can be, but the Avalanche don’t need a player that fits his mold. They dealt a solid, offensive defenseman for a skater that holds more value in fantasy hockey for his penalty minutes than he does in the real NHL. Downie’s physicality will be a nice addition, but he won’t do much to carry the Avalanche up the standings. Downie is a guy I’d label as a role player – something the Colorado lineup is littered with.
For the Avalanche, this is another trade where my first instinct was to scratch my head and wonder what exactly is going on in the front office. It isn’t a horrible trade, but at the same time it isn’t one I’d label a good trade, or a sensible trade that I clearly think helps this team.
It’s already being rumored that the Avs might have a few more trades to come before the deadline hits on the 27th. Perhaps their plans for additional trades might make more sense of the Downie trade. As for now, we will have to wait and see what develops out of Denver – it’s guaranteed to be interesting, one way or the other.