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Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins Sign Five to AHL Contracts

by Staff Writer / Pittsburgh Penguins

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins announced that they have signed goaltenders Brad Thiessen and Jeff Zatkoff, defensemen Robert Bortuzzo and Brian Strait and forward Eric Tangradi to American Hockey League contracts.

Thiessen, 26, split the 2011-12 season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. He made his NHL debut on Feb. 26 against Columbus, stopping 22 of 24 shots to earn his first NHL win. In five NHL games, Thiessen posted a 3-1 record. Hailing from Aldergrove, British Columbia, Thiessen made 41 appearances in the AHL with the Penguins, going 23-15-2 with a 2.82 goals-against average.

Zatkoff, 25, played the last four years in the Los Angeles Kings organization after being drafted by the Kings in the third round (74th overall) of the 2006 NHL Draft. Last year, Zatkoff posted a 21-17-1 record, 2.49 GAA and a .920 save percentage over 44 regular-season games with the Manchester Monarchs, earning him an AHL All-Star Game berth. Originally from Detroit, Michigan, Zatkoff has appeared in 114 games with Manchester, going 52-45-6 while posting a 9.15 save percentage and a 2.64 GAA.

Strait played in nine regular-season games with Pittsburgh last season, notching one assist. The 6-foot-1, 200-pound blueliner appeared in 41 regular-season games for WBS, establishing career bests in goals (4), assists (T-12) and points (16). He has played in 194 career AHL regular-season games for the Penguins, notching 40 points (8G-32A) and a plus-51 rating. Strait has six points (1G-5A) 18 AHL postseason games. He added one assist in two playoff games.

A fourth-year pro, Bortuzzo, 23, saw his first career NHL action in 2011-12, appearing in six games with Pittsburgh and recording a plus-1 rating while averaging 10:54 minutes. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound defenseman played the majority of the year with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, amassing 12 points (3G-9A) in 51 regular-season games. He has compiled 50 points (9G-41A) and 283 PIM in 205 AHL contests. He chipped in one assist in 12 AHL playoff games.

Tangradi, 23, also split last season between Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The 6-foot-4, 221-pound forward appeared in a career-high 24 regular-season NHL games with the Penguins, tallying two assists and 16 penalty minutes. The native of Philadelphia, Pa., Tangradi played 37 regular-season games in the AHL, notching 15 goals, 16 assists. During the postseason he posted nine points (4G-5A) in 10 contests.

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