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Pens Re-sign Tangradi, Bortuzzo and Grant


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The Penguins have re-signed their final three restricted free agents.

Left winger Eric Tangradi and defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Grant, all of whom are 23 years old, accepted contracts that will keep them with the organization.

The deals are two-way, which means they would earn a reduced salary if they play in the American Hockey League rather than the NHL.

Tangradi's is worth $726,000 in the NHL, while Bortuzzo and Grant would be paid $525,000 each if they make the NHL squad.

Tangradi had two assists in 24 regular-season appearances with the Penguins in 2011-12. He had two strong showings -- possibly his best in the NHL -- in the pair of games in which he played during the Penguins' first-round playoff series against Philadelphia.

He played in 37 games with the Penguins' American Hockey League affiliate in Wilkes-Barre last season, putting up 15 goals and 16 assists

Bortuzzo has just six NHL games on his resume, all from last season, but is expected to make a serious run at a spot on the major-league roster during training camp. He is a strong defensive presence who had three goals and nine assists in 51 games with the Baby Penguins in 2011-12.

Grant has bounced back from a severe wrist injury he received during a prospects-tournament game two years ago, and had 10 goals and 27 assists in 61 games with Wilkes-Barre last season.

Because the Penguins' depth chart on defense is so crowded, Grant figures to be a long shot to earn an NHL job this season.

Read more: http://www.post-gaze.../#ixzz252o8rawg

Edited by Penguins-66
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For some reason, the PG left out the re-signing of Strait...

The Penguins signed four restricted free agents to one-year, two-way contracts on Thursday.

Left wing Eric Tangradi, along with defensemen Brian Strait, Robert Bortuzzo and Alex Grant, signed deals that were essentially formalities.

Tangradi has been in Pittsburgh for two weeks and recently said he was confident a deal was imminent. His contract is worth $726,000 at the NHL level.

Strait, who has looked solid in 12 NHL games, inked a deal worth $605,000 at the NHL level. Bortuzzo and Grant, meanwhile, signed deals that will pay $525,000 at the NHL level.

Tangradi, 23, has scored only one goal in 40 NHL games.

However, the Penguins remain hopeful that he can become a regular contributor at the NHL level. General manager Ray Shero mentioned in July that Tangradi is a legitimate candidate to replace left wing Steve Sullivan in a "top-six" role.

NOTE - The NHL released its national television schedule on Thursday and, should the season start on time, the Penguins will be prominently featured. NBC will broadcast up to five Penguins' games on Sunday afternoons this season and the Penguins will be on NBC or the NBC Sports Network 17 times.

Read more: http://triblive.com/...l#ixzz252yBY3Ze

Edited by Penguins-66
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I'm fine with the signings. I think Strait and Bortuzzo can both be solid, and this is the year (assuming we have a season) we find out if Tangradi can really cut it at the NHL level or not.

Lots of depth at D. I do think Grant has more upside than Bortuzzo or Strait.

However, the Penguins remain hopeful that he can become a regular contributor at the NHL level. General manager Ray Shero mentioned in July that Tangradi is a legitimate candidate to replace left wing Steve Sullivan in a "top-six" role.

Looks like Ray is reading up here....

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Lots of depth at D. I do think Grant has more upside than Bortuzzo or Strait.

However, the Penguins remain hopeful that he can become a regular contributor at the NHL level. General manager Ray Shero mentioned in July that Tangradi is a legitimate candidate to replace left wing Steve Sullivan in a "top-six" role.

Looks like Ray is reading up here....

Good! I want Tangradi to get his shot. Do or die.

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I'm fine with the signings. I think Strait and Bortuzzo can both be solid,

Same here. You can never have enough defensive depth. Like I said, I would like to see Strait get the nod this season. Although, it will be interesting to see which defensemen Shero decides to eventually ship out. I wouldn't be shocked to see Lovejoy traded/packaged at some point throughout the year.

and this is the year (assuming we have a season) we find out if Tangradi can really cut it at the NHL level or not.

That's the truth. He's running low on chances. It was good to hear he has leaned down some and worked on his skating. While I still question his skating abilities and if he's able to hang on a line with Crosby, at least he worked on his weaknesses during the offseason. We shall see if it pays off.

Edited by Penguins-66
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Speaking of Tangradi...

Eric Tangradi has looked over the depth chart and recognizes the opportunity it could give him.

He just has no way of knowing when -- or whether -- it will happen.

The Penguins roster, as currently constituted, looks to be down at least one top-six winger, likely on Sidney Crosby's left side.

That's a role Tangradi would like to get a chance to fill, but if the league locks out its players in eight days, as seems virtually certain, his aspirations would go on hold, just like everything else associated with the 2012-13 season.

"I feel like I'm in the best shape of my life and I'm coming off a pretty positive season, really earning some [NHL] games, earning some time in the lineup," Tangradi said Thursday. "The way the depth chart looks, it looks like there's a good opportunity, if I show the coaching staff, to play here."

Tangradi said coach Dan Bylsma and his assistants haven't informed him of their plans, but unless there is a major acquisition before training camp opens, he should be in line for an audition.

To this point in his NHL career, Tangradi's most impressive statistics are his vital ones -- he's listed as being 6 feet 4, 221 pounds.

He clearly has the size to be a power forward and has been touted as such since long before the Penguins acquired him, along with left winger Chris Kunitz, from Anaheim for defenseman Ryan Whitney in 2009.

He has had a limited impact at this level, however, with just one goal and four assists in 40 NHL appearances. That has prompted some segments of the fan base to dismiss his chances to be a significant contributor in coming seasons, even though he is just 23.

To put Tangradi's age into perspective, consider that Kevin Stevens -- who went on to become a 55-goal man in the NHL -- spent 45 games with Muskegon in the International Hockey League when he was 23.

The success Stevens had in subsequent seasons obviously doesn't guarantee that Tangradi has a few 50-plus goal seasons in his future, but Stevens' career arc reinforces the idea that bigger players sometimes need more time to develop than others.

That reality hasn't stopped some blogs and other non-traditional media outlets from writing him off as an underachiever who never will merit more than a footnote in the organization's plans.

Tangradi acknowledges having read some scalding critiques, and said, "I'd be lying if I told you I haven't felt that pressure," that comes from being a target of them. He added that he no longer subjects himself to caustic evaluations of his work.

"I've made a pact with myself that I'm done looking at those things," he said.

Tangradi actually got solid reviews for his two most recent NHL performances, which came in the opening-round playoff series against Philadelphia this past spring.

They were perhaps his most impressive showings in the league so far, as he recorded an assist, three shots, five hits and a blocked shot in less than 16 1/2 minutes of playing time. Tangradi wasn't a dominant presence in those games, but neither was it entirely a coincidence that the Penguins got their only victories of the series when he was in the lineup.

At the very least, Games 4 and 5 against the Flyers provided a template for the way Tangradi can be effective at this level.

"I definitely feel like I was a factor," he said. "In the playoffs, there's always more physicality, less space, and those are areas in which I feel like I excel, being a big body and throwing the body around, being able to drive and create space for other players.

"If I can translate that energy and the way I played in the playoffs to an every-day game, I can see myself being here."

Tangradi's offseason priorities included lowering his body fat and upgrading his quickness, both of which could pay off when games finally begin. That's particularly true of his first few skating strides, which have been a soft spot.

"Those first three steps are always something I can improve on," he said. "If I get those to another level, it could help me, offensively and defensively, in the NHL."

No question about that. The only major uncertainty is when Tangradi will get a chance to measure the progress he has made against NHL-caliber competition.

"It definitely would be a shame if there's a halt to the season," he said. "Because we all want hockey."

Read more: http://www.post-gaze.../#ixzz25krz1kun

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Tangradi has a hell of a way to go to get there! And hopefully a happier ending.

The Pens need to be patient with him though... I hope your brass are not viewing this season as a defining moment for him to make a name for himself. He is still a kid and just needs playing time. Even if it doesn't happen for him this season, if he shows consistent effort, the team should just stay patient with him.

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The Pens need to be patient with him though... I hope your brass are not viewing this season as a defining moment for him to make a name for himself. He is still a kid and just needs playing time. Even if it doesn't happen for him this season, if he shows consistent effort, the team should just stay patient with him.

Most of us here have been thinking this is a make or break year for him to show he contributes something. I don't think anyone is saying he better score twenty or else, but we all agree he better show more competitiveness, physicality, vision, and at least be a factor on the ice rather than the spectating he's been doing up till this point. He HAS to show SOMETHING!

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Most of us here have been thinking this is a make or break year for him to show he contributes something. I don't think anyone is saying he better score twenty or else, but we all agree he better show more competitiveness, physicality, vision, and at least be a factor on the ice rather than the spectating he's been doing up till this point. He HAS to show SOMETHING!

Exactly! I don't even have a goal tally in mind, nor should anyone. But you're right, I think what we're all saying is show *something* out there. Show that you belong at this level. Show *progress* and a burning desire to compete. Some of those very basic things, in my opinion, are what have been lacking in his game. If I see progress and him turning into a factor on the ice rather than just a big body, I'll see hope. And in that case my patience level with him will be much more forgiving. From everything I've read this off-season (including this article) it sounds like he's turning himself around and is ready to make a big jump. He's doing and saying the right things. Now, let's see if he actually *shows* those things in his play. Believe me, I love the kid. SO much potential. But we'll see. Sadly, we may not be finding out soon if the two sides don't get a new CBA deal worked out. :(

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I hate to beat a dead horse, but he needs to use his frame, something he should have been doing since day one. Get in front of the net and battle. Get some dirty goals from time to time. Battle in the corners. I'm not expecting 20+ goals, but the guy has to use what he has to his advantage and he hasn't up to this point in time.

I do think this is a make or break year for Tangradi. I'm assuming he's going to get a very good look with an excellent athlete centering his line this season. If that ends up being the case and if he doesn't take advantage of the opportunity handed to him, I don't see Tangradi lasting much longer with this organization.

It's time for him to step up.

Edited by Penguins-66
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