There's one team that's ready for the trade deadline, and that's the Tampa Bay Lightning.
After making two deals already this month, the Lightning made two more on Tuesday in rapid succession. They began by dealing Steve Downie to the Colorado Avalanche for defenseman Kyle Quincey. The Bolts then turned around and flipped Quincey to the Red Wings for a first-round draft pick and prospect Sebastien Piche. Both moves were first reported by TSN's Bob McKenzie.
Oh, this is rich. The Red Wings and Avalanche may not have the burning hatred for each other that they once did, but that rivalry still burns, particularly for Avs fans. So to see them get played by a former Wing to help out the Wings? That can't be fun to see.
But when you sum it all up, it makes Bolts GM Steve Yzerman look like a genius. The sum of the two moves from Tampa Bay's perspective is that Steve Downie was just traded for a first-round draft pick plus more. So a guy who might score 20 goals a season -- might -- while racking up a lot of penalty minutes turns into a first-round pick and a prospect. Not a bad day at the office, I'd say.
Although there is a little irony here in that Downie was originally drafted by the Flyers with the 29th pick overall in the draft. With the season the Wings are having, that's certainly a potential spot for their pick to come in at. But at this point in his career, getting a first-round pick for Downie seems like a pretty good deal to me.
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Combine it with getting a second-round pick for Dominic Moore earlier this week and a couple picks as well for Pavel Kubina, the Lightning are loading up for a major farm system influx to come. They now hold two first-round picks, three-second picks with the possibility of a fourth in next year's draft. The possibility hinges on Florida's conditional pick for Kris Versteeg, just deciding whether the pick is in 2012 or 2013.
For Detroit it gets some defensive support. A weak spot coming into the season, this helps shore up a defensive corps that they are hoping can bring Lord Stanley's Cup back to Detroit. It's a moderately expensive price to pay for Quincey, particularly when you consider he was drafted by the Red Wings and got away on waivers back in 2008. But he's a good, puck-moving defenseman who will shoot and can carry a little scoring load.
The good news too is that Quincey is a restricted free agent, so this isn't a rental situation for Detroit. It makes the first-round pick asking price a little easier to swallow.
Meanwhile, there is Colorado. They get Downie in the deal, a scrappy and physical player that everybody loves to hate. He has some skill for a guy who fills that role, he might get you 20 goals in a good season. He brings the Avs a little more toughness as they try and chase down a playoff spot in the West. They enter Tuesday three points back of the eighth spot.
I can't help but feel like Colorado is the loser in all of this. Even though Quincey was expendable for them and they had been considering trading him with a full stable of young defensemen, it burns a little to see a guy they traded away turn into a first-round pick.
That's not to say they come out awful here, they don't. Moving Quincey out isn't the biggest thing in the world considering he has a salary of more than $3 million and does tend to turn the puck over. It just comes across not looking all that favorable for the Avs to me.
To the other GMs in the league, take note of Yzerman: This is how you sell at the trading deadline.