Sidney Crosby, Steve Downie

Downie vows to protect Crosby, Malkin


Back in 2010, Steve Downie delivered a questionable blow on Sidney Crosby. Now that they’re teammates with the Pittsburgh Penguins, he vows to make sure others don’t take liberties with the star forward.

The 27-year-old forward is a gritty player – especially for a solid scorer – yet he’s not often labeled as an “enforcer.” Then again, Downie poses a much better chance of being on the ice alongside top players like Crosby and Evgeni Malkin than a tough guy like departed defenseman Deryk Engelland.

The bigger problem might be Downie avoiding injury enough to protect Crosby and Malkin, though.

Downie was limited to 62 games in 2013-14, two in 2012-13, 75 in 2011-12 and so on. You can’t protect your teammates if you’re too injured to play, after all.

All that aside, it’s a nice low-risk pickup for the Penguins. Downie has a 22-goal season on his resume (along with multiple other double-digit scoring seasons) and can agitate/bring the snarl. Scoring some early points with potentially skeptical teammates with comments like these can only help him make a nice impression, whether he can back up those words or not.

Flames release Ryan Wilson from PTO

Ryan Wilson, Sidney Crosby
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The Calgary Flames have released Ryan Wilson from his professional tryout.

The 28-year-old was trying to make a comeback after missing 79 games with a shoulder injury last season.

Even with T.J. Brodie sidelined because of a broken hand, Wilson still faced long odds to make the final roster.

The veteran will be hard-pressed to find NHL work with another team.

He hasn’t suited up in more than 12 regular season games since 2011-12.

The Stockton Heat, Calgary’s AHL affiliate, also made some news on Sunday.

The club announced that they’ve signed Colton Orr to an AHL contract.

The 33-year-old tough guy suited up in just one game for the Toronto Maple Leafs last season. He has 12 seasons of NHL experience under his belt.

‘Yotes return Dylan Strome to OHL

Dylan Strome, Nikita Nikitin

The Arizona Coyotes have returned Dylan Strome to the Erie Otters of the OHL.

Strome, 18, was the third overall pick in the 2015 NHL draft.

The 6’3, 185 pounder was hoping to stick with the Coyotes this season, but the team decided to take the conservative approach with their top prospect.

Strome will look to build off an incredible junior season that saw him score 45 goals and 129 points in 68 games.

Strome seems to be taking the demotion in stride.

The team also announced that they’ve assigned goaltender Louis Domingue and forward Matthias Plachta to their AHL affiliate in Springfield.

Domingue, 23, had a 1-2-1 record with a 2.73 goals-against-average and a .911 save percentage in seven games last season.

Plachta, a free agent signing, will begin his first pro season in North America. The 24-year-old had 14 goals and 35 points in the German League last season.