On our ranking of defensemen who could make an impact at the 2012 NHL trade deadline, Pavel Kubina was listed at No. 3; the Tampa Bay Lightning traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers over the weekend.
Listed right behind him at No. 4 was Kyle Quincey of the Colorado Avalanche; on Tuesday, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning for forward Steve Downie.
Oh, but the fun didn't end there: Lightning GM Steve Yzerman then flipped Quincey to his old buddies at the Detroit Red Wings for prospect Sebastien Piche and what will likely be the last pick in the first round of the 2012 Draft.
A three-way trade! It's like it's 1996 again!
While turning Kyle Quincey into a first-round pick is going to make Avalanche fans hate Steve Yzerman … well, even more than they probably already do, let's take a step back and appreciate that this trade helps all parties.
For the Lightning, the benefits are obvious: They shed a restricted free agent in Downie, and add another pick to their war chest for 2012: According to Erik Erlendsson of the Tampa Tribune, the Bolts now have two first-round picks and up to four second-round picks in the 2012 Draft.
But once more, with feeling: STEVE YZERMAN JUST TURNED STEVE DOWNIE INTO A FIRST-ROUND DRAFT CHOICE.
It's good to have friends in high places in the Motor City …
As for the Red Wings, they acquire a player in Quincey who was the Avalanche's leader in ice time (22:21 on average) and plays both on the power play and the penalty kill. He's a puck-moving defenseman who will become an RFA this summer, making $3.13 million against the cap this season. As an RFA, they'll retain his rights, which makes him something better than a rental.
The Wings had been looking to add toughness to their blue line. They gave Mike Commodore a shot by signing him this past summer, but he has failed to establish himself as a regular in the lineup. Jakub Kindl had an impressive start to the season but has struggled the past month.
Quincey is only 26, brings nice size (6-feet-2, 202 pounds), and should bring more of the crease-clearing presence the Wings want.
And he's a player they're familiar with, having drafted him in the fourth round in 2003 and placed him on waivers in 2008.
But once more, with feeling: KEN HOLLAND JUST TRADED A FIRST FOR A GUY HE CUT IN 2008 AND EVERYONE'S COOL WITH IT.
As for the Avalanche, they bring in Steve Downie to provide sandpaper to their lineup during a playoff push.
(You can either go with "jam" or "sandpaper" to describe this type of player; I prefer "sandpaper" in this instance because I don't believe Downie ever hid jam in his glove to rake across the face of an opponent.)
As the Lightning fell out of the playoff race, he's a player that many assumed would be on the block; carrying a $1.9 million hit before entering RFA status next summer. Looking at the Avalanche roster, they don't have a player like Downie. This is either a good or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. But know this: Despite the reputation, he's morphed into a tenacious forward who has better numbers (12-16-28) than Chris Stewart (11-11-22) for what it's worth.
Plus, they weren't going to re-sign Quincey. And GM Greg Sherman wasn't going to get a first-round pick from Detroit for him. He only knows how to trade them away in incredibly lopsided and ill-conceived deals, not the other way around. Check out the Avs fan reaction here on Mile High Hockey.
So once more, with feeling: STOP LETTING GREG SHERMAN MAKE TRADES.
In summary: The Colorado Avalanche may have just been involved in a three way, and didn't notice one of the other participants were the Detroit Red Wings before they realized they were [expletived].