The Penguins cut ties with left winger Eric Tangradi today when they dealt him to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for a seventh-round pick in this summer's draft.
Tangradi, 25, appeared in five games at the NHL level this season and failed to score a point while recording a plus-2. During the NHL's lockout this season, Tangradi played 34 games with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and scored 17 points (10 goals, seven assists).
An all-star at the AHL level, Tangradi (6-foot-4, 221 pounds) spent parts of four seasons at the NHL level with the Penguins. In 45 NHL games, he scored five points (one goal, four assists).
According to CapGeek.com, Tangradi is in the final year of a two-way contract which has a salary cap hit of $726,000.
A second-round pick of the Ducks in 2007, Tangradi was acquired in a trade from Anaheim in 2009 along with left winger Chris Kunitz in exchange for defenseman Ryan Whitney.
-EN Says: Tangradi was given ample opportunity to lock-down a high-profile role on Evgeni Malkin's line this season and failed to so. He was given an opportunity to so as well in the early stages of the 2010-11 season and it never quite worked out.
As time wore on, it became apparent things just weren't going to workout here for Tangradi. Never a gifted skater, he just wasn't a fit for Dan Bylsma's aggressive system which demands forwards to play in all three zones.
Injuries derailed Tangradi's career with the Penguins at various points. He suffered a concussion when he was attacked by Islanders' thug Trevor Gillies in February of 2011. Additionally, his development was delayed by a skate cut which severed a tendon below his left thumb during the 2009 postseason while playing for his junior team, the Belleville Bulls.
Tangradi seemed to find some modest success last season while playing on the fourth-line at the NHL level with Craig Adams and Arron Asham filling a grinder's role. But that success didn't carry over to this season.
Regardless of all those factors, management had fallen out of love with him this season. And with a compacted 48-game schedule in 99 days, the luxury of patience isn't available.
Considering the meager return from Winnipeg, this strikes us as a trade done as a favor for Tangradi who had been a healthy scratch for eight consecutive games. The Jets have had some success the past two seasons with bigger forwards such as Blake Wheeler, Andrew Ladd and Nik Antropov. Perhaps they can be a better fit for Tangradi's skill set than the Penguins.
Ultimately, a top-six role might not be in the cards for Tangardi if he sticks in the NHL. He might be a bottom-six grinder. He could be more of a Mike Rupp than Milan Lucic.
(Photo: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)