The Penguins recalled four players from their Wilkes Barre-Scranton affiliate this morning to offset the rash of injuries that they have suffered as of late. The moves come in light of the demotions of Eric Tangradi and Tim Wallace yesterday afternoon.
The players are as follows: Joe Vitale, Ryan Craig, Nick Johnson, and Brett Sterling.
Here are the details on each from the Penguins official release:
Johnson, 25, leads WBS with 20 goals while placing second (tied) with 39 points in 48 games. He also has a team-high 10 power-play goals.
Sterling, 26, is also tied for second in scoring on WBS with 39 points through 46 contests. He’s posted 18 goals, 21 assists, six power-play goals and a plus-12 rating.
Craig, 29, ranks fourth on WBS with 33 points on 13 goals and 20 assists in 49 games.
Vitale, 25, has appeared in 50 games this season for WBS, recording eight goals, 27 points, a plus-12 rating and two shorthanded tallies.
It is clear that Ray Shero is taking advantage of the injuries that the team is currently dealing with to see what exactly he has in his cupboard. What pieces he wants to keep around for the long term and what pieces he could potentially flip in deals as the NHL’s trade deadline approaches.
It is also worth noting that Eric Tangradi and Tim Wallace weren’t exactly lighting the world on fire during their call-ups. It is clear that Tangradi is better served developing in the AHL while playing top line minutes. He isn’t getting much from toiling on the third and fourth lines in Pittsburgh.
All four of the recalled players bring something to the table. Johnson has proven to have a bit of a scoring touch and had some success in the NHL over the past season. Ryan Craig is a veteran, who came close to making the Penguins roster out of camp. Joe Vitale plays with an edge and can kill penalties. Brett Sterling is capable of scoring in bunches, at least at the AHL level — unfortunately he is smallish and gets knocked around at the NHL level.
It wouldn’t be shocking to see all players dress for this evening’s game against the Los Angeles Kings. The Penguins hit the ice at 10:30 at the CONSOL Energy Center, at which point we will have a better idea of what their line-up looks like.