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Penguins notebook: New pickup Boychuk could play with Malkin

| Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, 1:04 p.m.
The Penguins' James Neal celebrates with Evgeni Malkin after Malkins' first-period goal against the Rangers on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, at Madison Square Garden. (Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review)
NHLI via Getty Images
RALEIGH, NC - JANUARY 13: Zach Boychuk #18 of the Carolina Hurricanes poses for his official headshot for the 2012-2013 season on January 13,2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

NEW YORK — New acquisition Zach Boychuk could go from the waiver wire to playing with the MVP.

Boychuk, claimed Thursday by the Penguins, should skate with center Evgeni Malkin, a two-time scoring champion, and right winger James Neal, a 40-goal scorer.

“He's going to add some competition to our lineup,” coach Dan Bylsma said. “He could see time on Malkin's wing.”

Boychuk, a 23-year-old left-handed shooter, was the 14th overall pick by the Carolina Hurricanes in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He has seven goals and 18 points in 73 NHL games.

He did not play Thursday night against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. He will be available for the Penguins' home game against the New Jersey Devils on Saturday afternoon, general manager Ray Shero said.

Tangradi future

Left winger Eric Tangradi did not receive a hearty endorsement from Shero in the wake of the Boychuk acquisition.

“We'll see how the game goes,” Shero said of Tangradi, who had averaged fewer than nine minutes in five games before Thursday.

Tangradi did not dress against the Rangers. He opened the season on Malkin's line but quickly was demoted to the fourth line and was a healthy scratch in the Penguins' home loss to the New York Islanders on Wednesday night.

Tangradi, 23, would need to clear waivers before an AHL assignment.

The Penguins do not need to make a roster move because defenseman Matt Niskanen (ankle) is on injured-reserve status.

Defense shakeup

Robert Bortuzzo dressed against the Rangers and was paired with Deryk Engelland as his defense partner. Bortuzzo, 23, had not played this season. He has played in only seven NHL games.

Niskanen, injured Sunday in a shootout win at Ottawa, will miss at least two weeks.

The Penguins carried eight defensemen to open the season. All but rookie Simon Despres were on NHL contracts or, like Bortuzzo, required waiver clearance for an AHL assignment.

Despres was paired with top defenseman Kris Letang against the Rangers.

Defenseman Ben Lovejoy did not play. He was injured Wednesday on a boarding penalty by the Islanders, though he finished the game.

Black and blue captain

Ryan Callahan is not the Rangers' most talented or heralded player. He is, however, their captain — and arguably one of the steadiest two-way forwards in the NHL.

He did not play against the Penguins. His left shoulder was injured while grappling with Max Talbot of the Philadelphia Flyers in the Rangers' home win Tuesday.

Callahan said he was relieved to have a timetable for recovery of 10 to 14 days.

Callahan had scored only two goals in six games, but he was coming off a breakout 2011-12 campaign during which he notched 29 goals and 54 points in 76 games.

Around the boards

Left winger Beau Bennett, the Penguins' top prospect, is out with a lower-body injury, Shero said. Bennett, 21, has played in only 79 games (32 in the AHL) since he was the 20th overall pick in 2010.

Rob Rossi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at or via Twitter @RobRossi_Trib.

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