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Penguins Set Roster, Ship Eric Tangradi To Wheeling

In a strange move, the Penguins set their 23-man roster on Wednesday in time for the season opener, then sent Eric Tangradi to the ECHL Wheeling Nailers:

Left winger Eric Tangradi, who has been playing on the No. 2 line with Evgeni Malkin and Mike Comrie, was assigned to the Penguins’ ECHL affiliate in Wheeling, while goalie Patrick Killeen was summoned from the Nailers to the Penguins.

Indications are that Tangradi will rejoin the Penguins today.

Goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Brent Johnson participated in Wednesday’s practice and seemed fine afterward, which suggests there is no need for a third goalie. What’s more, Killeen is no higher than fifth on the organizational depth chart …

One club official covertly confirmed that Tangradi’s demotion did not indicate any “red flags” had been raised about him.

It was expected, meanwhile, that Arron Asham would be on injured reserve, but he’s still on the roster.

Pensburgh follows the Pens a lot more closely than I do, and they too were confused about the Tangradi demotion. They think it might be about cap maneuvering:

I sent a few e-mails out to bloggers on SBN to get their input on the situation. Many suggested, what a lot of us speculated, that this is just a way to get around negotiating the cap and that placing Tangradi in Wheeling keeps him close to Pittsburgh so he can return, say, as soon as tomorrow.

He must report to Wheeling however, and if I’m not mistaken I think the term used in situations like this is “physically report.” If it’s as simple as walking in a door, waving and stopping for a bathroom break before returning to Pittsburgh, then so be it.

The Pens apparently told Tangradi he had made the team, and indications are that he’ll be back for the game, so Pensburgh appears to be right that this is a cap move.

Photographs by dizfunk used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.