PENS PROSPECT BUZZ
In Pittsburgh’s first round series with the Philadelphia Flyers, we saw a different Eric Tangradi on the ice who added a physical edge to his game and used his size very well in two games played.
In those two games, Tangradi played the type of gritty game he needs to bring to the table on a consistent basis to be an NHL regular and Tangradi had a productive night in his first AHL playoff action of the season Wednesday night.
Tangradi had a goal and added a power play assist in Wilkes Barre’s 4-3 loss in Game 3 against the Hersey Bears last night.
Jonathan Boumbulie who covers the team for the Citizens voice, called Tangradi a “major asset” in the win, writing “after a slow first period, Eric Tangradi found his game and was a major asset for the Penguins last night. He looks to me to be at the stage in his development where heâs starting to get it. Heâs a 6-foot-4, 220-pound physical force who happens to have good hands. Not a finesse player with good hands who happens to be 6-4, 220. Itâs a subtle difference, but itâs an important one.”
One source tells me Tangradi is starting to open some eyes for a “role player” spot next season at the NHL level.
“He’s starting to open some eyes, ” a team source said. “People seem to forget he’s only 23 years old. Mentally it’s starting to come to him on what he needs to do.”
Tangradi has 1 goal in 40 career NHL games and while scouts have their doubts of him emerging into a 25 goal scorer many believed he would, the Penguins seem to feel he could be an 8-10 goal scorer next season in a bottom line role with some power play time mixed in, while most importantly providing some size on the 4th line. A big AHL playoffs for him in regards to his prospects for next season.
— Colin McDonald has been excellent in the playoffs with a team leading 4 goals and has 5 points in three games. McDonald is one of those borderline NHL players who the Penguins would like to retain next season for depth purposes, but McDonald might look to seek better NHL opportunities as he will turn 28 in September.
— The Penguins have no plans to go into next season with Brad Thiessen as their backup goaltender and the impending restricted free agent could find himself on the bench soon after a subpar game in Game 3. Thiessen has an .879 save percentage in the playoffsÂ and Scott Munroe is a very good backup who has been the better goaltender this season with a 19-10-3 record and .252 GAA and .907 save percentage.
Top prospect Joe Morrow continues his solid playoff run with 3 goals and 13 points in 14 games, leading all WHL defenseman.
The Portland Winterhawks are up 3-0 in the Western Conference Final over Tri City. The Winterhawks look to close out the series tonight in Game 4.
Morrow has 1 goal and 3 assists in the series.