The Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers completed a trade earlier today. Philly sent forward Max Talbot to Colorado and received Steve Downie in return. Downie began his career with the Flyers, while Talbot brings an element to the Avalanche that they will need down the stretch.
While Colorado had been using Downie on a line with Ryan O’Reilly and Matt Duchene—a line that has been very successful this season—the brass still felt the need to shake up the forward group a little bit. It seems that Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic and the rest of the decision makers for the Avalanche know that the team will eventually level off and lose some hockey games.
With a young group like the one they have in Colorado, that kind of losing streak can totally strip a team of all forward momentum. Without veterans in the locker room, things have a tendency to snowball much quicker than they do when there’s a “been there, done that” type of presence.
That’s what Talbot brings to the table for the Avs.
While he isn’t likely to score as many points as Downey could, he’s a strong two-way player that has a Stanley Cup ring. In a room full of youngsters like Duchene, O’Reilly and captain Gabriel Landeskog, that type of jewelry speaks volumes. Talbot is there to be a sage among kids.
He’s there to be a veteran presence.
Talbot is an outstanding penalty killer as well. While Colorado currently has the top PK in the NHL, adding a piece like Talbot for the stretch run certainly won’t hurt matters. He was averaging more than three minutes of penalty kill time with the Flyers, and brings ton of know-how to Colorado.
Colorado receives a guy that can play either center or wing, and that isn’t half bad in the faceoff circle either. When injuries occur, having a player that can lineup at either forward position is valuable.
From a strict point-scoring perspective this deal might look uneven, but the Avalanche filled a big need by adding a player that has a little grey in his beard and has been around the block a few times. This is a shrewd but outstanding move for Colorado, and one that will pay dividends in the long term and in the short term.