Eric Tangradi is our second Anaheim Ducks 2nd round draft pick in a row in the Winnipeg Jets Top 25 Under 25. He places at number eleven, oddly with only one person voting him at that position or better. The consensus really breaks down at an exponential rate after this so prepare for some fun.
Previous Rank: NR
From nowhere, to somewhere, to lost, then hopefully found
Eric Tangradi had difficulty getting quality icetime in his rookie season in the OHL and, as a result, he only put up 0.31 points per a game played. For perspective, the only Jets' prospects with similarly low production was J.C. Lipon's 0.32 at the same age and Lukas Sutter's 0.33 last season. However, Tangradi had some aspects to his game that led many to believe his production would pick up once he was placed in a larger role. This made him desireable enough for the Anaheim Ducks organization to select him in the second round.
They were correct, at least for next season, as Tangradi had a much more offensively successful sophomore season, placing fourth on the team in points and twelfth for his U18 players in the OHL. Other familiar faces to Jets fans that season in the top 15 were Eric O`Dell (7th), Akim Aliu (13th) and Zach Bogosian (14th). This offensive explosion placed his draft +1 production along equal lines of Adam Lowry and Ivan Telegin at the same age.
Tangradi was given the 'C' for his third and final season for the Belleville Bulls; a season where he scored a very impressive 1.60 points per game played, pacing similarly to Logan Couture and Talyor Hall that year. Thus far the only Jets 2.0 prospects to outpace is Mark Scheifele's draft +2 year and Nicolas Petan's draft year. During the season his rights were traded along with Chris Kunitz to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Ryan Whitney. Tangradi was invited to Team USA for the World Junior Championships, where he scored 3 points although came home without a medal.
Tangradi spent much of the next four seasons bouncing up and down from the AHL and the NHL as call-up duty. While having difficulty scoring in the NHL with only 9 points in 81 games, his AHL points per game played rose each season from 0.60, 0.79 and 0.84. During the 2012-13 season Tangradi was traded to the Jets for a conditional sixth or seventh round pick, depending on games played that season. Eric stuck with the squad, predominately taking Alexei Ponikarovski's vacant 3LW spot.
There are a lot of concerns with Tangradi's offense. While he's unlikely to ever become a top 6 mainstay scorer, there is likely a lot more NHL offensive production in him than has been tapped thus far.
In 81 NHL games, Tangradi has taken 149 shot attempts with 84 of them hitting the net in 5v5 situations. Yet, only two have gone in the net for a 2.38% shooting percentage. Sure, Tangradi is not going to be the second coming of Steven Stamkos; however, there should be some doubts that he is one third the shooter or offensive player of teammate Chris Thorburn. In the AHL Tangradi has scored 64 goals in 488 shots for a 13% sh%.
If we were to split the difference in shooting percentages, the goal total would raise to about 6 to 7, still low but much more expected. This comes to about 0.5 G/60min, similar to many third line calibre players like Darren Helm, Jordin Tootoo, Brooks Laich and Tyler Bozak (haha...Toronto Maple Leafs).
Tangradi's career on-ice shooting percentage is also quite low, with the Tangradi's linemates scoring on only 6.3% of shots. This is just under what is even norm for the worst fourth lines in the NHL.
Tangradi has been a plus possession player through most of his career, outshooting and chancing his opponents, although his two most common centres have been Alexander Burmistrov and Evgeni Malkin, two pretty decent players. There has been an ongoing debate on whether Tangradi's positive Corsi is due to a strong zone entry play and forechecking game or being pulled up by his linemates. On one hand there is some evidence that he is a strong neutral zone player, in gaining the offensive zone; however, his possession has dropped substantially when away from his two favourite centres.
The Big Dog's Future
Tangradi is battling teammate Matt Halischuk for the 3LW spot. Tangradi could bring solid possession to the third line, although that could be inflated by previous linemates, while Halischuk could bring solid secondary scoring, although that could be inflated by high on-ice shooting percentages. In the end, having either of these guys as your two bottom six left wing players beats the days of Tanner Glass tenfold.
The truth is, there is a good chance Tangradi tops up higher than many of the Jets' prospects. We tend by human nature overweigh potential over proven commodities; in actuality it is extremely rare for teams to get two NHL regulars per a draft from outside of the first rounds. I don't mean to lower expectations, but many players after this spot in the Top 25 are unlikely to reach the NHL, let alone their ceiling.
Eric Tangradi may never be a full time top six player, but he is a proven effective bottom six player who may develop into an above average third line winger who can be difficult to play against.