Tampa Bay Lightning general manager Steve Yzerman turned agitator Steve Downie into a first-round pick and a prospect with a three-team trade on Tuesday.
After sending Downie to Colorado for defenceman Kyle Quincey, Yzerman flipped Quincey to Detroit for a first-round pick in 2012 and prospect Sebastien Piche.
"These moves are made to make us better in the future," Yzerman said. "We're excited about the future. These draft picks give us options. They don't help today, no question, but again my goal is to get a Stanley Cup here, and I think we have to do some tough things along the way to do that."
The Lightning have two first-round picks in 2012 along with a maximum of four and a minimum of three selections in the second round.
"We could hang on to some of those picks and still, if a move comes up that a team is looking to move a player, there's a lot of options for us," Yzerman said. "Draft-related or potentially trade-related, we've got some flexibility."
Downie and Quincey are set to become restricted free agents on July 1.
The Lightning have become big sellers ahead of the trade deadline after previously sending Dominic Moore to San Jose and Pavel Kubina to Philadelphia.
Downie was in his fourth season with the Lightning and had 12 goals and 28 points in 55 games this year.
"Our organization believes that Steve Downie will add grit and skill to our lineup offensively," Avalanche general manager Greg Sherman said in statement. "He plays the game with an edge, and we look forward to seeing the immediate and future impact he can bring to our team."
The 26-year-old Quincey returns to the Red Wings after being drafted by the organization in 2003. He had five goals and 23 points in 54 games for the Avs this year.