Downie, regarded as a physical player, started the 2013-14 season with the Colorado Avalanche before a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers for Maxime Talbot in October. Downie, 27, had four goals, 24 points and 106 penalty minutes in 62 games with the Avalanche and Flyers last season.
It's possible new Penguins assistant coach Rick Tocchet put in a good word for Downie. Tocchet helped Downie reach a career-best 22 goals with the Tampa Bay Lightning during the 2009-10 campaign when he served as interim coach.
Downie has twice topped 40 points, in 2009-10 and 2011-12, when he split the season with the Lightning and Avalanche. He has 59 goals, 162 points and 766 penalty minutes in 336 regular-season games.