Downie began his junior career after being selected in the first round with the sixteenth overall pick in the 2003 OHL Priority Draft by the Windsor Spitfires. As a rookie in 2003-2004, he had 7 goals and 16 points with the Spitfires. In 2004-2005, at the age of 18, he propelled himself into first round draft contention with an outstanding 21 goals and 73 points in in 61 games with Windsor. He finished the year rated the thirty-eighth best North American skater prospect by NHL Central Scouting for the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, and was eventually selected twenty-ninth overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Philadelphia Flyers. Unfortunately, the 2005-2006 season was the beginning of Downie's infamous reputation as a player with disciplinary problems. At one point during the season, he was suspended for an on-ice incident during practice where he attacked and fought a teammate for refusing to take part in a hazing ritual. The incident eventually cost Windsor's head coach his job and led to Downie being traded to the Peterborough Petes. He ended up with 19 goals and 53 points in 35 games to go along with 113 penalty minutes in his time split between Windsor and Peterborough. Despite the incident, the Flyers signed Downie in the Fall of 2006 before returning him to junior, where he again put up outstanding numbers finishing with 35 goals and 92 points in just 45 games to go along with 124 penalty minutes in time split between Peterborough and Kitchener, where he was traded at the deadline in 2007. In 2006, Downie also made his first appearance for Team Canada, helping the team win a gold medal in the 2006 U20 World Junior Championships.
In 2007-2008, Downie began his professional career full time. He played 21 games for the Philadelphia Phantoms of the AHL scoring 5 goals and 17 points in 21 games. He also appeared in 32 games for the Flyers at the NHL level, scoring 6 goals and 12 points in 32 games. The Flyers also allowed Downie to play in the 2007 U20 World Junior Championships where he again helped Canada with the gold medal. On paper, it was another good season for Downie, but it was again marred by a suspension stemming from a preseason game where Downie boarded Ottawa's Dean McAmmond, resulting in a 20 game suspension. In 2008-2009 Downie was traded to the Lightning in a deal involving defensemen Steve Eminger and Matt Carle. Downie was scoreless in 6 games with the Flyers and had 1 goal and 8 points in 4 games with the Phantoms in the AHL prior to the trade. After the trade, Downie appeared in 23 games with Norfolk of the AHL, scoring 8 goals and 25 points to go along with 107 penalty minutes. He also appeared in 23 games with the Lightning scoring 3 goals and 6 points with 54 penalty minutes. Unfortunately, Downie again earned a 20 game suspension in the second half of the season in a game with Norfolk in which he deliberately slashed an official in the shins on a faceoff.
"The expectation is that he will do something else stupid over the course of the coming season." -Pete, BoltProspects
Downie is a quick skater who is surprisingly strong on the puck for such a small player. He's a better playmaker than a finisher and is an outstanding setup man. That said, he's got an NHL shot, and if he uses it more he is fully capable of producing goals. You'll also never hear Downie accused of being soft. He loves to take the body and he's one of the most agitating young players in the league.
You can generally count on Downie, once or twice during the season, to do something incredibly cheap and stupid and earn himself a big suspension. His reputation also makes him a liability because he is a routine visitor to the penalty box, even when he doesn't necessarily deserve it. He also needs to get stronger in the upper body because although he's strong on the puck for his size, he still can be overwhelmed by the larger defensemen.
It's hard to count on Downie for anything, because you know you're probably going to lose him for 20 games at some point during any given season due to suspension. If he just focuses on being a hockey player, he's fully capable of evolving into a very good 20 goal, 50-60 point player who can either play on your second line or provide energy and scoring depth on your third line. Unfortunately, three of his last four seasons of hockey have been incident marred, and that just doesn't engender confidence he'll ever reach his full potential.
|2002-2003||York Simcoe Express Mn Mdgt AAA||ETAMMHL||14||5||13||18||27||||
|Canada Ontario U17||WHC-17||6||3||3||6||8||||
|Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||23||3||3||6||54||||
|2009-2010||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||79||22||24||46||208||||
|2010-2011||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||57||10||22||32||171|||||Playoffs||17||2||12||14||40|
|2011-2012||Tampa Bay Lightning||NHL||55||12||16||28||121||||
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