CBA BUZZ: Bill Daly and Steve Fehr had what is being called a marathon meeting that started Saturday afternoon and didn’t end until 1:00 a.m. this morning. The two tackled a number of issues, according to Daly, and there is believed to be some small traction made between the two sides. We’re entering a crucial week and the next meetings among a larger group of representatives this coming week will be the true sign on where this is headed.
TANGRADI SHOWING GOAL SCORING TOUCH: Eric Tangradi (8GP – 6G – 0A – 6Pts) enters today’s game vs Bridgeport on a four game goal scoring streak, leading Wilkes Barre with 6 goals on the season. Since last spring Tangradi continues to show signs of a player who gets it in key phases of his game and one scout I spoke with who has seen Tangradi play twice this season, told me he see’s a different player in Tangradi’s aggressiveness in driving to the net. “Eric’s showing a real knack for getting to rebounds and loose pucks,” the scout said. While Tangradi has been among the few bright spots in Wilkes Barre, producing at the AHL level is no new revelation for Tangradi.
ZATKOFF MOVING INTO NO. 1 ROLE: The Penguins brass have felt that goaltender Jeff Zatkoff (2-4-0, 2.20 GAA, .917 sv%) had a very strong shot to emerge as the No. 1 goaltender over Brad Thiessen (1-1-0, 3.37 GAA, .875 sv%) this season and through eight games that’s where things appear headed. Zatkoff posted a 33 save shutout performance in Friday’s game and the coaching staff is leaning on him early, seeing action in six games, compared to Thiessen who has appeared in just two games. Zatkoff is 2-4-0 on the season with a 2.20 goals against average and .917 save percentage. If there’s NHL hockey this season, Zatkoff will likely be the No. 3 goaltender on the organization depth chart behind Marc Andre Fleury and Tomas Vokoun.
— Two players I’m hearing good things about is Paul Thompson (8GP – 3G – 2A – 5Pts) and Benn Ferriero (8Gp – 0G – 6A – 6Pts). Thompson in his second professional season is showing signs of development in his game that the Penguins had been hoping for. Thompson a 50 point player in college, is becoming more involved offensively and the Penguins really like his overall game as a third line forward.
Ferriero has a lot of attributes where the Penguins feel he could mesh well in Dan Bylsma’s system, possessing speed and the ability to make an offensive play. A possible fit for him would be on the third line if a spot were to open up with Matt Cooke or Tyler Kennedy getting bumped up to the second line. As i’ve written in the past about him, he’s been a frustrating player to evaluators at the NHL level because he hasn’t been able to find enough consistency to stay in the lineup. He’s an intriguing player though who has 12 goals in his last 68 NHL games.
Meanwhile, top offensive prospect Beau Bennett (8GP – 1G – 4A – 5Pts) has garnered some mixed reviews from scouts and observers I’ve spoke with. “He’s holding his own,” one observer said. One scout I spoke with said the part of Bennett’s game that really stands out to him is Bennett’s vision, claiming he has the ability to see the play develop at a higher level that a lot of others in the AHL. The one knock on Bennett I’m hearing is that he’s not getting to the net enough and sometimes gets caught being a perimeter player too much. Bennett has just 12 shots on goal in eight games.