Eric Tangradi, when in Pittsburgh, is arguably the most polarizing player on the roster.
We all have high hopes for him and want him to succeed. At the same time, we’re all frustrated that he hasn’t lived up to those expectations.
Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is a popular scapegoat. Defenseman Paul Martin became just as polarizing last season. Now, three games into 2013, Tangradi is drawing the ire of the Penguins fan base.
It boiled over last night for fans and, apparently, the coaching staff, too. Tangradi was benched midway through the second period and totaled just 4:27 of ice time. He started playing on the second line and ended on the bench.
In his place, Tyler Kennedy saw much of the ice time with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal on the second line. Now, it appears, Kennedy will stay there.
Kennedy practiced with Malkin and Neal Thursday at CONSOL Energy Center and is slated to start on the No. 2 unit tonight in Winnipeg.
Where’s Tangradi? The fourth line with Craig Adams and Joe Vitale.
This begs the question, when do we call it quits with Tangradi?
He was brought here as a valued add-on at the trade deadline in 2009 when the Penguins traded defenseman Ryan Whitney to Anaheim for Chris Kunitz. Kunitz was a piece for now, and Tangradi was a piece for the future.
Ever since then, Penguins fans have spoken of Tangradi as the future power forward for Sidney Crosby. He’d be the next Ryan Malone in Pittsburgh — a strong power forward with a net front presence and knack for finding loose pucks and potting them for goals.
Fast forward to the present, and Tangradi has displayed little strength or skill at the NHL level. He got a vote of confidence out of training camp, as Bylsma announced he’d be skating on the team’s second line.
In three games, Tangradi has appeared weak, confused, lost … the list goes on. His issues were highlighted in a 5-2 loss to Toronto, one in which he had a costly turnover result in a Maple Leafs goal. He also blew a scoring chance in the second period, failing to realize he was part of a 2-on-1 rush with Malkin.
The point of this blog isn’t to bash the guy. I’m trying to just point out facts.
What the point is, is that if he’s not ready for the NHL — which, it appears, he clearly isn’t — he’s being wasted on the team’s fourth line. Tangradi’s value to this franchise is as a top-6 winger. If he’s not there yet, he either needs to be sent down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton or traded.
That’s why Beau Bennett was sent back down to the AHL, right? Because he wasn’t ready. Because he needs more time to play and develop in a top-6 role.
Because he’d be wasted playing 5-7 minutes a night on the fourth line in Pittsburgh. Right?
The same should be the case for Tangradi. Move him. Somewhere. Anywhere but the fourth line.
Chris | Penguins Report
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