Tangradi has plenty of work with Baby Pens
Eric Tangradi has spent the last few weeks playing on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins' third line.
When that news reached the Penguins fans who closely follow the team's prospects, their heads promptly exploded.
Has coach Todd Reirden gone off script• Is Tangradi, a 6-foot-4, 221-pound power forward acquired in the Ryan Whitney deal in February, now some kind of a busted prospect?
No. And no.
Tangradi is still getting plenty of ice time. He's still being used on the power play. He even has five points in his last five games. But some of his Baby Pens teammates are playing better, and he doesn't get to jump the line.
"He's our top prospect, but we're not an organization that gives people stuff," Reirden said. "They have to earn it, and I think that's part of the pro experience, getting that consistency and work ethic night in and night out."
By the numbers
For fans looking for more encouraging news about Tangradi, here's a stat: He leads the Baby Pens with four game-winning goals this season. No one else on the team has more than two.
"I like to be known as a big goal kind of guy," Tangradi said. "So far, it's been going good."
Plus-minus rating isn't a perfect stat, but for a stay-at-home defenseman such as Deryk Engelland, there aren't any better numbers to use to measure performance. The minus-9 next to his name on the stat sheet as of Dec. 15, therefore, had to be at least a little troublesome.
He erased those concerns by going plus-11 in his next nine games.
"That's something I wanted to work on as much as possible," he said. "It's kind of out of my hands to put the puck in the net most of the time, but I can limit their opportunities and our time in the D zone. It's been going in the right direction."
When Luca Caputi was called up on Tuesday, physical winger Tim Wallace took his spot on a scoring line with veterans Wyatt Smith and Chris Conner.
"His puck management, if it's not the best on the team, it's right there in terms of his commitment to put pucks behind defensemen and go after it," Reirden said.
STOCK UP: Alexander Pechurskiy
Tri-City (WHL), G · 6-foot, 190 pounds
A fifth-round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, Pechurskiy took a huge step toward a pro career in North America when he left his hometown of Magnitogorsk to play for the Tri-City Americans of the Western Hockey League. In his WHL debut, he stopped all 28 shots he faced to lead Tri-City to a 1-0 win over Everett on Dec. 29. Pechurskiy is known as a tremendously athletic goaltender who needs to refine his mechanics. Playing for one of the WHL's best teams in a location where the Penguins can keep an eye on him can only help his development.
Jonathan Bombulie has covered the Baby Pens for The Citizens' Voice in Wilkes-Barre since the team's inception in 1999. He can be reached at email@example.com .
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