The pros and cons of the Talbot/Downie swap; a quick analysis of the trade

So the Philadelphia Flyers traded Max Talbot for former Flyer first-rounder Steve Downie, eh? I was stuck with an exceptionally busy workday so I haven’t even had the pleasure of reading other opinions yet. All I’ve seen are a few tweets on the matter.

With that, I wanted to quickly comment on some of the common themes I’m seeing from people on why this was a good trade, and why it was a bad one. Please forgive my stream of consciousness and lack of editing. Let’s start with the bad…

Why people are saying the Flyers made a bad trade:

  1. We lose a good defensive player and a key penalty killer.
    This is the most valid of all of arguments against the trade in my opinion. There’s no denying Talbot was a damn near exceptional role player. He’s a great bottom-six forward that plays tough defensive minutes. He also leads all Flyers forwards in short-handed time on ice.The penalty kill aspect doesn’t worry me at all really. Sean Couturier and Matt Read are very good penalty killers and, frankly, anything that gets either of them more minutes makes me a happy man. Obviously Giroux plays his fair share of PK as well; and Adam Hall is good down a man. I’m not worried about the loss of Talbot on the PK.The Flyers do lack strong defensive forwards at even strength and Talbot was one of the few they had. This is a legitimate concern; but, without getting too ahead of myself, I think the potential reward is well worth it.
  2. We traded a very good role player on a decent contract for a pending unrestricted free agent.
    I don’t think contracts had anything to do with this trade, personally. I think this was a 100% hockey move. Yes, Talbot for another two years at $1.75 million is pretty good, but it’s not an outright steal of a contract. He’s a bottom-six forward afterall. It’s still ridiculous that he got a five year contract in the first place.I think the biggest gripe here is that you can argue it’s not the best asset management if you trade for a player who then walks after not even a full year.
  3. Downie is a tad crazy and injury prone.
    There’s not much to say here. These are some legitimate concerns. Broad Street Hockey covered the topic quite well. I personally don’t think they are anywhere near worrisome enough to alone declare this trade a loss.

Why people are saying the Flyers made a good trade:

  1. It’s an offensive upgrade.
    This really isn’t even up for debate.  Broad Street Hockey covered this topic as well.From that piece:

    Or, as Eric puts it on Twitter, the Flyers just acquired a guy who’s averaged 42 points per 82 games for a guy averaging 24 points per 82 games during his career, and Talbot’s seen more ice time per game. Upgrade.

  2. It’s an expiring contract.
    Can we stop with the expiring contract stuff? This isn’t the NBA. Now, don’t get me wrong, prior to the trade the Flyers had every single forward (with the exception of Adam Hall) under control beyond this season. Brayden  Schenn and Michael Raffl are pending restricted free agents, but the rest are under contract. That means that barring trades, this currently underachieving group was going to be coming right back.With that said, I don’t think Paul Holmgren was sitting in his office worried that he was locked into this forward group. I also don’t think Talbot’s $1.75 million was causing him to lose any sleep. I don’t think Homer was sitting there thinking “hmmm I need to get an expiring contract so I have some flexibility”.This was a pure hockey move. I don’t think either Talbot’s or Downie’s contracts caused Homer any hesitation here. He saw a chance to get a player that, in theory, is a better fit for what this team needs right now.
  3. No Rosehill?
    If there’s no Max Talbot, that means the Flyers lack a fourth line center and a penalty killer. Re-enter Adam Hall. If Adam Hall is in, we may be so lucky that Rosehill doesn’t dress. Addition by subtraction.

I like the trade quite a bit. I’m not about to declare it a homerun, or a no brainer. Max Talbot is a very good player on a solid contract. I’m not going to fret over losing Max Talbot though. Just last year there were rumors of him going for draft picks (not even good ones). I’ll take the significantly higher potential of Steve Downie over Max Talbot. We need someone that can contribute on the offensive end far more than we need Max Talbot. Whether or not it works out, I think it’s a risk worth taking.

  • Howard Wachtel

    Why did the Flyers even make the trade for Rosehill? And why Newbury called up? Those two moves plus the addition of Downie to the lineup seems to suggest that management wants the Flyers to keep their “tough guy” image. Sometimes I think that is a drawback, the officials are prone to call marginal penalties on the Flyers more than on other teams.

    • Kevin Christmann

      No idea. They traded for Rosehill who had 0 NHL games all year while on a two-way deal. They then signed him to a two-year one-way deal 16 days later. It doesn’t make sense.

  • Sean Houlihan

    Good Trade 1) Just like your #1 – this is why they did it. The team is middle of the road GAA, but 28th in GF/G…losing Talbot I don’t think hurts the defensive liabilities too, too much on this team., 2) while I completely agree with #2, I do just enjoy the fact that it is a roster spot addition and another $1.5 to play with in a off season you can use to super-rebuild. Timonen gone, Mez gone, Talbot’s 1.5, etc. I think little things like this are good, especially with both compliance buyouts used, 3) your number #3 was the 1st thing I though of before looking at Downie’s stat lines, 4) I see no issue upgrading from a guy getting 3rd line minutes on a crappy team to a guy getting top 4 minutes (5v5) from a team that’s playing well.