Then and Now: Steve Downie

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Steve Downie was selected by the Philadelphia Flyers 29th overall in the first round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, as he was picked right after the Dallas Stars selected Matt Niskanen and four picks before they took James Neal. The feisty forward hasn’t exactly panned out in the NHL, but he has been serviceable for every team he has suited up for since joining the league.

Downie made his debut for the Flyers’ organization by playing in a Philadelphia Phantoms’ game in 2006-2007 before he saw significant time with both the squads during the 2007-2008 campaign.

The forward played in just 21 games with the Phantoms during 2007-2008, but he compiled 17 points and 114 PIMs. As for his time with the Flyers, Downie had six goals and six assists, as well as 73 PIMs 32 regular season games. He also missed four games due to a concussion and served a 20-game suspension due to his charge on Dean McAmmond.

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His first goal in the NHL came against Andrew Raycroft in a Flyers’ 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on January 5th, 2008 (go to 0:26). Downie opened the scoring of a contest where Antero Niittymaki made 54 stops.

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What may be a more memorable first for Downie is his first fight in the NHL, where he made David Clarkson bleed before laughing at the Devils’ pugilist in a 7-3 Philly loss on January 22nd, 2008.

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As for the 2008 postseason, Downie took part in six of the Flyers’ 17 playoff games before the club was eliminated in the ECF. The pest suited up for Game 7 of the Flyers’ ECQF series against the Washington Capitals, Games 1-3 of their ECSF series against the Montreal Canadiens, and Games 2 and 3 of the ECF against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Downie’s lone point came in Game 1 of the ECSF, as he had the primary assist on Jim Dowd’s final goal in the NHL playoffs.

Downie played only 10 more games for the Philadelphia franchise before being dealt to the Tampa Bay Lightning in a deal that brought a mobile defenseman to the Flyers’ blue line. The forward had seven points in four games for the Phantoms and zero points in six games for the Flyers before changing organizations.

In early November of 2007, the Flyers dealt Downie, Steve Eminger, and a fourth-round pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft to the Tampa Bay Lightning for Matt Carle and a third-round pick in the same draft. The Flyers selected Simon Bertilsson with the third-round pick and the Lightning took Alex Hutchings with the fourth-round pick, which was originally their pick.

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Downie played in 23 games for both the Bolts and the Norfolk Admirals in 2008-2009, as he had six points and 54 PIMs for the Lightning as well as 25 points and 107 PIMs for the Admirals. Unfortunately for Downie and the Tampa Bay organization, both the Bolts and the Admirals missed the 2009 postseason.

In 2009-2010, Downie filled the box score often, as he compiled 22 goals, 24 assists, and 208 PIMs in 79 games for the Lightning. Despite piling up goals, assists, and PIMs, Downie failed to register a single Gordie Howe hat trick during his first full season with Tampa Bay.

After the forward had to endure the disappointment of his team missing the NHL playoffs for a second straight year, Downie was part of a Canadian team that finished seventh in a 16-team field for the 2010 IIHF World Championship.

Downie had lower season totals during the 2010-2011 regular season, but he also enjoyed a run with the Lightning in the 2011 NHL playoffs. After he signed a two-year contract to stay in Tampa Bay in the summer of 2010, Downie missed 26 games during 2010-211 thanks to a back injury, ankle injury, and a lower-body injury. He had 10 goals and 22 assists, as well as 171 PIMs in 57 regular season games.

As for the 2011 postseason, Downie suited up in 17 of the Bolts’ 18 contests, as the forward missed Game 4 of the team’s ECQF series against the Pittsburgh Penguins for his illegal hit on Ben Lovejoy.


Downie responded to the suspension by posting six points in the final three games of the series to help Tampa Bay overcome a 3-1 deficit in the series.

Downie finished the 2011 playoffs with two goals and 12 assists, as well as 40 PIMs and a plus-7 rating.

The 2010-2011 season was Downie’s last full season with the Lightning, as he had 28 points and 121 PIMs with the Bolts in 55 games during the 2011-2012 campaign before being dealt to the Colorado Avalanche. Tampa Bay received Kyle Quincey from the Avalanche and quickly dealt the blue liner to the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Sebastien Piche and first-round pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. The Lightning picked Andrei Vasilevski, a goalie who has yet to make his NHL debut.

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The pest had a pair of goals and 11 helpers in his first 20 games with the Avalanche before the 2011-2012 concluded. Downie had one assist in just two games in the 2013 shortened season before he tore his ACL and needed season-ending surgery, which caused him to miss the season’s final 46 games. He is expected to return to Colorado’s lineup for the 2013-2014 season opener.