Latest Penguins Buzz

Insider Only Bylsma looking to go with a left wing by committee on Malkin’s line

ON THE BATTLE TO BE MALKIN’S LEFT WINGER
A big reason Eric Tangradi is getting the first audition on Evgeni Malkin’s line was due to him being a beneficiary of the lockout.
Tangradi made a good impression on the Penguins late last spring in a fourth line role and due to the lockout, head coach Dan Bylsma got to watch Tangradi closely in Wilkes Barre this season and Tangradi’s play in the first 20 games really caught Bylsma’s attention.
“I think he played some good hockey for us last year,” Bylsma said on Sunday. “He played what you could call a fourth line role, but he played his game. He used his size and strength and used it forechecking, down low, and protection of the puck. Some people are looking for flash and high skill from Eric Tangradi to play in a top six role. That’s not necessary. This year in Wilkes-Barre his first 20 games were outstanding and I think he differentiated himself. Not dangling, not going high on offense {but} Playing that big, physical game down low and at the net and that’s what he can add.”
What Bylsma is looking for is Tangradi to fill that Chris Kunitz role of providing a forechecking role, cause havoc around the net, but whether Tangradi can actually fit with the elite talents of Malkin and Neal, we just don’t know at this point.
Even if Tangradi emerges as a fit 5-on-5 with Malkin and Neal, which would be a huge plus for the Penguins, Tangradi has his limitations defensively as does Evgeni Malkin in the faceoff circle, which has Bylsma fully prepared to go with a left wing by committee.
“I still think no matter who plays there, you’re going to see situations where other people play there in certain circumstances and different situations. There’s a good chance that Brandon Sutter’s going be our best draw guy in right faceoff dot, that’s his backhand, that’s his strong side, good success there. If we need a draw in defensive zone, even win a draw in offensive zone to give us a chance in that spot, Sutter might be best guy to go out there to take that draw, which means he’ll play on a line with Geno and Neal.”

“If we see Geno taking draws and we need a defensive situation up in a game third period, we might see a Tanner Glass playing there or a Matt Cooke playing that position, some defensive positioning stability to that line. Eric Tangradi is going to play there as well. You’ll see different players there no matter what happens. {You’ll see} Tyler Kennedy in a more offensive situation.”
More Buzz
— The Penguins are just giddy about Brandon Sutter who has impressed them on so many levels. Seeing him in practice, the Penguins see a better skill set than they thought and feel he should become a 20 goal scorer (full season) in this system with opportunities on the power play. Bylsma on Sutter today. “Brandon’s skating stands out,” Bylsma said. “Skates a little faster up ice than we anticipated. Showed a release in his shot you don’t just get to see in games against him.” Penguins GM Ray Shero said yesterday that Sutter is going to be a huge part of the team.
— Two days into camp, there is now absolutely no chatter about Beau Bennett starting the season in Pittsburgh. We’ll see if things change.
— Bylsma will start the season with what he feels is going to be a shutdown pair of Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin. There is going to be immense pressure on this pair.

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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