PITTSBURGH -- Even with Sidney Crosby and Tyler Kennedy sitting out with concussions and Evgeni Malkin missing seven games with knee soreness, the Pittsburgh Penguins didn't recall top forward prospect Eric Tangradi.
Tangradi didn't take it as a slight, however, just as he didn't when he was one of the first players cut during training camp. He didn't speak out. He just kept producing for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (AHL), with 7 goals and 5 assists in 12 games.
That steady production led the Penguins to call up Tangradi for their game Friday against the Stars, even though they could have recalled Dustin Jeffrey or Steve MacIntyre, who are in Wilkes-Barre on conditioning assignments.
"I don't think I need to do anything different," said Tangradi, who has 1 goal and 2 assists in 16 NHL games the last two seasons. "I'm here for a reason. I'm here to play my game and not worry about anything else. Not be too nervous, not do more than I'm capable of doing and just play my game."
Coach Dan Bylsma said Tangradi is up for a reason.
"Eric's game has really come on strong the last eight games or so with Wilkes-Barre," Bylsma said. "He's playing strong down low. He's protecting the puck. He's been a physical presence. He's really improved his puck management in the neutral zone. That's something that he's been inconsistent on in the past. We're looking for him to continue that and be a force in the offensive zone, hold on to the puck, get to the net."
And show why he is Pittsburgh's top prospect.