Steve Downie must be a catalyst for the Flyers

Steve Downie must be a catalyst for the Flyers

Tim Panaccio breaks down the Talbot-Downie trade

November 1, 2013, 9:00 am
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Steve Downie had one goal and six assists in 11 games with Colorado this year. (USA Today Images)

Steve Downie says his game has grown, that he’s matured since the days when he was a Flyer taking needless penalties, running around the ice like a mindless zombie.
 
“I mean, I was 19 or 20 years old the first time I played [here],” Downie said Thursday afternoon after being traded from the Colorado Avalanche to the Flyers for Max Talbot.
 
“I was younger. I don't know if immature is the word, but I think I've grown as a player and as a person. I'm excited to show Philly what an older Steve Downie looks like.”
 
He’s a one-time 20-goal guy. If he gets half that amount, the Flyers will take it. The real reason Downie is a Flyer again has to do with Claude Giroux, Jakub Voracek and Scott Hartnell. Downie's job is to get those guys going offensively, especially Giroux.
 
He has shown himself a capable playmaker.
 
General manager Paul Holmgren, who is taking a huge risk here with the deal and his job security given the state of the franchise, feels that Downie’s enthusiasm and ability will have a trickle-down effect.
 
Put it this way: If Downie can prod Giroux, plus somehow inspire the Flyers to regain confidence in themselves in the third period and turn things around, it’s a win.
 
If not? It’s a disaster.
 
From a season-ticket holder’s standpoint, judging by the internet comments, it’s anything but a “culture change” -- another ex-Flyer back in the fold instead of moving forward. To say fans are angry would be an understatement.
 
They see this deal as stale, more of the same.

But Downie wants them to give him a chance to show he’s not the same kid he was when he was drafted in 2005.
 
“I play the game hard,” he said. “I like to play a physical game. … I like to play the game on the edge, play as hard as I can night in and night out. If I can bring my energy every night, hopefully I can help this team win.”
 
With the Flyers, he was once suspended 20 games. In a preseason game, no less. It was a bad hit on Ottawa’s Dean McAmmond, another ex-Flyer. People always remember that.
 
“My first years I had a couple of suspensions,” Downie said. “I was really eager to get into the league and make an impact. Now that I've been in the league for seven seasons, I've grown with the game, I've learned the game.
 
“I know when to pick my spots now. I'm excited. I'm excited to show Philadelphia what I have to offer.”
 
Downie is unrestricted after the season. It would behoove the Flyers not to rush into re-signing him. Holmgren typically jumps at the chance to re-sign his players, when he can, in-season.  
 
This is one time he needs to pull back and allow himself to judge the trade at season’s end. Even Downie seems to agree with that approach.
 
“I got to look at things one day at a time with that,” he said. “I have to come in and prove myself. I love Philly. It's where it all started. So right now, I just can't wait to get there and get in my first game.”