Flyers Trade The Legend of Steve Downie to Lighting for D-Man Matt Carle


The Steve Downie Era in Philly is over. In need of help on defense and without much room for a forward finding his way, Paul Holmgren traded the 2005 first-round pick along with Steve Eminger to Tampa Bay for defenseman Matt Carle. The teams also swapped draft picks, with the Flyers getting a third and giving a fourth.

Oddly enough, the Flyers play the Lightning tonight.

Downie had been shuttling back and forth across the sports complex parking lot this year, and that's no way to get a young player on track. Eminger was aquired at the draft for a first-rounder, so at this early point in the season, you could theoretically say the Flyers gave up a first, Downie, and a fourth, but Eminger wasn't brought here to immediately play the role he was forced into by injuries on the Flyers blue line. Sam Carchidi writes that he had been improving, even getting some PP time, but he was supposed to have been a depth guy with potential. Carle could be a top-4 guy here, now--while the Flyers are enduring injuries to Ryan Parent and Randy Jones--and maybe down the road as well. Albeit with none of players having logged a minute of ice time since the deal was finalized, the Flyers appear to be a better team today than they were yesterday, trading from a position of strength to address a weakness.

A little more from Carchidi on Carle: "A quick, puck-rushing defenseman and a native of Anchorage, Alaska, the
24-year-old Carle was named to the NHL all-rookie team after posting 42
points (11 goals, 31 assists, plus-9) during the 2006-07 season. Last
season, his production slipped (two goals, 13 assists, minus-8)."

Sounds about as good as you're going to get without giving up a major
piece. Top-4 defensemen are as elusive as top-4 starters in baseball.
If you have them, you don't want to give them up, and their costs in trades and free agency are somewhat inflated due to position scarcity. A 2006 Hobey Baker Award winner, Carle's rookie rush came when he started his career with the Sharks, who traded him as part of the package for Dan Boyle after a sophomore slump out west. He has been quiet in Tampa so far, so here's hoping for the "change of scenery" turnaround.

Now one man short of the full 50-man roster, will the Flyers make a legit run at Shanny? Cap room will still be an issue if so.

We'll miss Downie (can you say, "blogger gold"?), and we always thought
he had pretty solid potential, which we may or may not see actualized
in South Florida. He's the kind of player we'll hate to see the Flyers face, but I'm not sure we'll ever grow to hate him unless he does something ridiculous to one of our guys. Speaking of which...

Some of our favorite Steve Downie memories, from a stocked library of YouTube goodness...

The one that started the legend for us, Steve knocking some kid's teeth out because he wouldn't sit in the team bus bathroom, naked, with other hazed players, for a long bus ride:

The flying barrage on Dean McAmmond, which will probably always be his top YouTube hit:

The alleged cheapshot on Jason Blake, which blacked his eye.

In one of the wildest sequences I've ever seen, Downie got upended, with his skate catching a linesman's face. A 6-man fight ensued, and with the officials seeing one of their guys hurt badly, Downie kicked the hell out of an overmatched non-pugilist:

And perhaps my all-time favorite... Downie's in a good battle with David Clarkson of the Devils, rakes his eye while trying to get the helmet off, and then taunts Clarkson every time he misses a punch. It wasn't the cleanest fight or a decisive win, but it was vintage Steve Downie:

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