I've seen a lot of recent comments projecting possible lines for next year. Many of them include Tangradi in a Top 6 Winger role. While he undoubtedly has the potential to do so, I wonder if starting Tangradi in the NHL might be rushing his development.
Here is Hockey'sfuture.com's writeup: (taken from their Pens AHL/ECHL prospect review)
Although he started his rookie professional season slowly, dislocating his shoulder in only his third game and missing a month of play, Tangradi has emerged as the Penguins prospect with the greatest NHL potential. He started out the season on a checking line with Joe Vitale and Tim Wallace. This allowed the 6’4 225-pound winger to develop his physical game and assimilate to the professional style of play without the added pressure of being depended on for offense. As his game matured and he learned to use his large frame to his advantage, the points started coming with regularity. By the beginning of January, Tangradi was one of the Penguins key contributors and started seeing regular time as a top-six forward and on the power play. Tangradi would finish out the AHL regular season with 17 goals, including eight on the man-advantage, and 22 assists through 65 games. In his team’s four playoff appearances, Tangradi registered one goal and assist and a plus-two rating.
Tangradi has clearly come a ways already, moving up from checking line to top-six forward on the baby pens, but he only finished 8th in points and 6th in goals on the team. It'd be quite a jump for him to suddenly start playing with Crosby every shift.
The Pens could definitely use a gritty, skilled, cheap (salary, not playing style!) forward to play on their top lines, and Eric Tangradi could provide some of that. But I don't want to rush him, and ruin his potential, either.
But enough about me, what do YOU think?