Pittsburgh Penguin prospect Eric Tangradi has now played 27 NHL games in his short career but the results have been less than spectacular.

He has racked up a disappointing 1g, 2a, and -9 rating in those 27 GP. Granted, he’s playing with Craig Adams and Joe Vitale but he’s had plenty of scoring chances but has not been able to fill the scoresheet.

He has attempted to earn a spot in the lineup with his physical play and he has thrown some big hits in his second stint with the Penguins this season.

But Tangradi has gotten some golden opportunities that he has been unable to finish, most notably 1/22 against Washington.

Tangradi’s ice time has been dwindling (6:49 against Washington) and his window to make an impression on Ray Shero and Dan Bylsma is closing.

While I still believe in Tangradi’s top 6 potential, he may need to reinvent himself as a bottom 6 forward with his size, physicality, and nastiness. His natural gifts may then take over and the offense will blossom from there.

However, if he’s not careful he could end up Stoa’dâ„¢.

1. playing like former Colorado Avalanche 2nd round pick Ryan Stoa

Stoa and Tangradi’s career paths are unfortunately mirroring each other.

Stoa is a big American left winger drafted in the 2nd round in 2005 (one pick after James Neal). He has had pretty good success in the AHL but has been unable to score at the NHL level.

Sound familiar?

Here are Stoa’s and Tangradi’s AHL stats:

Can you tell which player is which?

The stat group on the left is Tangradi.

The stat group on the right is Stoa – a player struggling in the AHL this season and whose NHL prospects are close to being over.

Stoa is two years older than Tangradi so the comparison is not perfect but it is a fair one. Both players have been too passive at the NHL level.

In my opinion, Tangradi’s best chance to keep an NHL job is to hit everything that moves and become a Bryan Bickell/Troy Brouwer/Nick Foligno/David Clarkson type player.

All of those guys broke into the league as a 3rd/4th line player that played a grinding game. The offense then followed as their natural talent took over.

Tangradi is arguably more talented than all of those players and he is definitely bigger than all of them except Bickell (he and Bickell are identical sizes).

If he can get more physical and involved shift to shift, I am convinced his talent will win out.

The story of Stoa should be a cautionary tale for Tangradi on the dangers of inconsistent effort at the NHL level.