The Penguins add another Flyer by way of a connection through Tampa Bay.
Former Flyers forward Steve Downie has signed a one-year contract with the Penguins worth $1 million. Coming off a contract with a salary cap hit of $2.65 million, Downie, 27, appeared in 62 games last season and scored 24 points (four goals, 20 assists).
A first round pick in 2005, Downie has spent time with the Flyers, Lightning and Avalanche during his career. His most productive season was in 2009-10 when he appeared in 79 games and set career highs in goals (22), assists (24) and points (46). Downie enjoyed that success while playing for head coach Rick Tocchet, now an assistant coach with the Penguins.
During the 2011 postseason, Downie produced some solid numbers by scoring 12 points in 17 postseason games and helped the Lightning reach the Eastern Conference final. During their Eastern Conference quarterfinal series win against the Penguins, Downie had six points in six games.
-A few highlights:
-One of Downie's attributes has been his abilities to agitate the opponent's top players. A few highlights of this "skill:"
Downie's career has been marred by discipline and health issues. In a 2007 preseason game, Downie was suspended twenty games by the NHL after he launched himself in the head of Senators forward Dean McAmmond:
During Game 3 of the 2011 Eastern Conference quarterfinal series against the Penguins, Downie was suspended one game for a high hit against Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy:
-Late in the 2009-2010 season, Downie did not face supplemental discipline for a low hit against Penguins captain/forward Sidney Crosby:
Downie himself is no stranger to being injured. A rough-and-tumble player who isn't afraid to fight or mix it up physically, he has missed many games throughout his career due to head or "upper-body" injuries. He missed the final eight games of this past regular season and all seven of the Flyers' postseason games due to an "upper-body" injury.
-EN Says: There's a lot to sift through with this signing.
First and foremost, Downie comes with a ton of red flags. He behavior throughout this career has made him a liability. The only time he showed any substantial level of composure was that 2009-10 season under Tocchet.
Tocchet kept Downie on a tight leash and worked with him quite a bit to remain discipline and as a result Downie was able to show off the abilities which made him a first-round pick.
But that has been the exception and not the rule throughout his career. Downie has had far too many meltdowns throughout his career to be considered a reliable player.
Injuries have also been a factor for Downie's inconsistent play. In addition to his multiple head injuries, Downie missed the final 46 games of the 2012-13 season due to a knee injury.
Those factors why he only received a one-year contract. The Penguins are taking a chance that Tocchet can once again reign in Downie.
As far as how Downie will be used, one would assume he would get a crack at the third line alongside Brandon Sutter. He would provide an upgrade over many of the players used on that line last season.
We wouldn't rule out Downie being considered for the top two lines either. In 2009-10, he played primarily with superstar forwards Steven Stamkos and Martin St. Louis. He has played and succeeded with elite talent before in his career.
This is a risk worth taking.
(Photos: Al Bello/Getty Images)