June 18, 2007
Q& A with Eric Tangradi
McKeen's Hockey Prospects Staff
McKeen's recently had a chance to conduct a Q&A with 2007 NHL Draft prospect Eric Tangradi, following a standout postseason with the Belleville Bulls, where he ranked third in the playoffs for goals and points by a rookie. Currently listed at No. 36 on the McKeen's Draft Rankings, Tangradi talks about his game, his decision to play in the OHL, future goals and his thoughts on the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.
McKeen's: How did you become interested in hockey? At what age did you start playing organized hockey?
Tangradi: I played floor and roller hockey around the age of 6 and around the age of 7, I began playing ice hockey. Hockey was always my favourite and I had a group of friends that also loved the game, which inspired me to really get involved.
McKeen's: Describe the type of game you play. What are your strengths? Weaknesses?
Tangradi: I play a very aggressive crash-and-bang game that consists of constant battling for position. The strengths of my game are my playmaking along with good puckhandling skills. My weaknesses would be my quickness and explosion.
McKeen's: What would you say is the most underrated facet to your game?
Tangradi: I would say my playmaking abilities are my most underrated facet of my game.
McKeen's: Which NHL player do you model your game after and why?
Tangradi: I model my game off former Philadelphia Flyer Keith Primeau because he is a big guy with good hands and vision for the game.
McKeen's: Who are the five most talented players you have played against or with and what specifically do you admire about their styles?
1. Shawn Matthias - complete package both on offence and on defence. Also, he can be a game-changer because of his hard work and determination.
2. Chris Stewart - great leader who play's both a physical, dominating game and a finesse game, due to his great skill set.
3. Tyler Donati- best hands I've ever seen and his want and ability to score is unbelievable.
4. Patrick Kane - always a threat when the puck is on his stick because he can make plays from anywhere from his passing, stickhandling and shooting.
5. Marc Staal- rock solid and so consistent; rarely ever makes mistakes.
McKeen's: What do you focus on during off-season training?
Tangradi: During the off-season, I try to focus on combining good nutrition with a tough fitness regiment.
McKeen's: What was your main reason for choosing the OHL vs. the NCAA?
Tangradi: The misconception many people have is their misunderstanding that one cannot receive an education in the OHL. My decision was made because I felt if I wasn't going to make it in hockey; I could focus solely on my studies with no distraction from hockey and a demanding hockey schedule. Also, I felt that I had to take advantage of the opportunity because I knew I would be able to play at the top level at a younger age compared to NCAA.
McKeen's: Any temptations to play anywhere else besides Belleville, like in the USHL or staying in prep school, or was it an easy decision?
Tangradi: There were some pressures as to staying at prep school, mostly from my parents, but other than that, I had my mindset on Belleville.
McKeen's: The NHL Entry Draft will be coming up for you this year. Are you thinking about it at all? Do you look at rankings?
Tangradi: I think about the draft here and there but I try not to be caught up in the rankings. I'm just very excited that I finished strong and have been given the opportunity to be considered for the draft.
McKeen's: Did you head to Toronto to meet with any teams? Did you attend the NHL Draft combine, was it what you expected or better or worse? How many NHL teams did you meet with?
Tangradi: I did not attend the combine but I have spoke to over a dozen teams.
McKeen's: What was your favorite NHL team growing-up?
Tangradi: I was a Flyers fan as a kid but after about 16, I do not have a favourite.
McKeen's: What were some of the things you learned in your first year with Belleville?
Tangradi: I learned how physically and mentally demanding it is to be a pro and what it is going to take to get to the next level. Also, I've learned how to compose myself from all the distractions outside of hockey.
McKeen's: Can you explain why you had so much success in the playoffs?
Tangradi: I was given an opportunity because of a couple injuries and just took full advantage of them. Also, after a few good games my confidence level skyrocketed, which helped my game tremendously.
McKeen's: What is your most memorable moment from this season?
Tangradi: Scoring the series clincher in overtime against Ottawa in the first round of playoffs.
McKeen's: What are your goals for next year?
Tangradi: I want to step in and be role player next year and elevate my game to a level I have never reached before. I hope to be more consistent offensively and have a breakout year.
McKeen's: What is the funniest nickname on the Bulls roster?
Tangradi: Probably Aaron Snow's nickname of "Snowman".
McKeen's Fun Questions:
1. What was your 'welcome to the OHL' moment? (Goal, hit, etc.)
Tangradi: First regular season win, which came with my first OHL point.
2. Best thing about your hometown Philadelphia, PA?
Tangradi: The food is incredible!
3. Favourite actor/actress?
Tangradi: Denzel Washington for sure.
4. Best city in the OHL, besides Belleville?
Tangradi: London or Ottawa.
June 2007 - Belleville Bulls
Eric Tangradi Invited to USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp
Belleville Bulls forward Eric Tangradi was one of 45 players invited to participate in the 2007 USA Hockey National Junior Evaluation Camp. The camp will be held August 3-11 in Lake Placid, New York and players invited are candidates for the 2008 U.S. National Junior Team that will compete at the 2008 World Junior Championship, December. 26, 2007 - January. 5, 2008, in the Czech Republic. At the camp, Tangradi will participate in practices and eight international scrimmages with a split squad of American players facing Sweden and Finland.
Tangradi, a native of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania played his rookie OHL season for the Bulls during the 2006-2007 campaign and emerged as a top player during the 2007 playoffs where he helped lead Belleville to the Eastern Conference Finals. In 65 regular season games, Tangradi scored five goals and 20 points along with 32 penalty minutes. In the playoffs, he then took his play to another level, scoring eight times and adding nine assists in 15 games to finish second on the team in playoff goals and third in points. He was also named OHL Player of the Week in April and was the recipient of the Bulls 2006-2007 Rookie of the Year Award along with Shawn Lalonde.
Tangradi joined the Bulls this season after spending the 2005-2006 campaign at Wyoming Seminary Prep School in Pennsylvania after being selected by Belleville in the sixth round of the 2005 OHL Priority Selection. He is currently rated 93rd by Central Scouting for the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.