The Pittsburgh Penguins and free agent winger Steve Downie agreed to a one-year, $1 million contract on Wednesday, reports Bob McKenzie of TSN.
Downie, 27, finished the 2013-14 season with the Philadelphia Flyers after an early-season trade from the Colorado Avalanche. Appearing in 62 games, he recorded four goals and 20 points, but ended up on the bench as the Flyers battled the New York Rangers in the first round of the playoffs.
Having fallen out of favor fairly quickly in Philadelphia, it’s not surprising Downie signed elsewhere as a free agent. For just $1 million over one season, he gives the Penguins some affordable depth as they shift the deck chairs around Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin for 2014-15.
Before dealing with a steady stream of injuries the past couple years, Downie was fairly effective as a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning. During the 2009-10 season, he broke out for 22 goals and 46 points in 79 games, although he was also third in the league in penalty minutes, as Pro Hockey Talk notes.
All those penalties reflect his nasty habit for undisciplined play, which was part of why he didn’t play in the postseason for Philly this year. However, only a few years removed from being a legitimately productive goal-scoring winger, it’s understandable that a team like Pittsburgh would take a flier.
Downie will likely fill a third- or fourth-line role with Pittsburgh, depending on how the new depth chart under GM Jim Rutherford shakes out. Moving from the team’s bitter rival in Philly, it’ll be interesting to see how he fits with his new digs.