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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Free Agency Update: Penguins Sign Steve Downie

The bottom line rebuild continues with another player joining the Pens on a short term deal.  This time it's known pest Steve Downie.

The 5'11", 191 lbs Downie has a reputation for being a player you do not want to play against.  Physical with some skill, scoring 22 in a season recently, make him an ideal candidate for 2nd line/3rd line flex duties on the Penguins.  With his one year, $1 million deal he'll be reunited with his Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet.

Steve Downie
Downie, 27, is a player that many Penguins fans found easy to hate.  Being a member of the Philadelphia Flyers made it easy but his run in with Sidney Crosby during his Tampa Bay Lightning tenure, in which he tackled Crosby from behind and looked to bend Sid's knee like a doll, earned him the ire of the majority of Penguins fans.

It's likely that Downie, whose hard hitting and annoying style of play, will quickly earn him the love and adoration of the Penguins populace in short term much the way they attached themselves to Jarkko Ruutu, Matt Cooke, Aaron Asham, and more.  He's a reformed "bad boy," much like Cooke, who reduced the edge of his game after being handed a 20 game suspension in 2007 for leaving his feet to target Dean McAmmond's head.

The Penguins will be Downie's fourth NHL team with stops on the Flyers (who drafted him in the 1st round of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft), the Lightning and the Colorado Avalanche.

Downie joins the revamped bottom six consisting of recently acquired players like Nick Spaling, Blake Comeau and the re-signed Marcel Goc.  The lack of depth on the bottom six, and the lack of players who can perform duties, was a known target of Jim Rutherford who seems to have accomplished his goal early and often in his tenure.

Some Steve Downie highlights:

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