PITTSBURGH — Left winger Eric Tangradi has had an underwhelming camp and concerns are starting to mount from scouts about his offensive abiltiy and skating ability in the Penguins system.
Considered a longshot to make the team, Tangradi gets his big chance tonight to make an impression and show the Penguins something, as he will be put in a top line role with winger Steve Sullivan sitting out his 4th straight preseason game.
Tangradi in the Penguins morning skate skated on the top line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal, a spot he’s expected to see significant time at tonight.
Meanwhile, Jordan Staal will center Chris Kunitz and Tyler Kennedy on the second line. A line that should be together for the start of the season.
Richard Park play wing for the first time this preseason, skating on the third line with center Mark Letestu and Nick Johnson. Park who’s battling for a final roster spot, will be appearing in his 3rd preseason game.
Joe Viltale is slated to center the 4th line of Steve MacIntyre and Craig Adams.
*Matt Niskanen and Ben Lovejoy are paired together for the second straight day and will work as one of the Penguins top pairings. Despite a strong camp from Deryk Engelland, sources say it might not be enough to push Niskanen out of the top-6. The Penguins have been very pleased with Niskanen’s work.
*Brian Strait is a player to watch tonight. I’m told the Penguins have been impressed with his all-around play in camp and he’s pushing for a top-7 spot with Brooks Orpik’s status up in the air for start of camp.
*In the morning skate, the Penguins went with a top power play unit, using Evgeni Malkin and Paul Martin at the points with Nick Johnson, Mark Letestu and James Neal down low.
*1st round pick Joe Morrow will appear in his third preseason game and run the second power play unit.