In the report on Zbynek Michalek's signing, I mentioned that the Arizona Coyotes look to have an improved penalty kill unit with Michalek, Brad Richardson, and Boyd Gordon all on the roster.
That's very good, because they're going to need it:
The Arizona Coyotes have signed F Steve Downie to a one year deal worth $1.75 million #NHL— NHLnumbers (@NHLnumbers) July 1, 2015
Steve Downie has 1,004 penalty minutes in 408 career NHL games, including a whopping 238 last season. Downie has played exactly two professional seasons (NHL and AHL) since his entry in 2006-07 where he recorded less than 100 PIMs.
However, unlike previous Coyotes enforcer types like Paul Bissonnette and B.J. Crombeen, Downie also brings some secondary scoring to the table. Downie had 14 goals and 14 assists with Pittsburgh last year, and albeit in very limited minutes, has made the most of his time in the league:
Downie, pest though he is, has done a much better job staying away from supplemental discipline in the NHL after receiving a 20 game suspension back in 2007 for a hit on Dean McAmmond (which you can watch here if you're interested in that sort of thing). He's only been suspended for one game since, and that came in 2011.
The Coyotes likely envision Downie as a player in the mold of Raffi Torres: a pest who can be physical and contribute some secondary scoring. If he can stay away from the Department of Player Safety (and stay out of the box a bit more too), this shouldn't be a terrible move.
We will update this story once we receive official word from the Coyotes organization.
UPDATE: (1:20 PM)
Coyotes confirm that Downie is coming to Arizona.