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NHL Trade Speculation: Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects That Could Be Traded

Alison MyersCorrespondent IFebruary 17, 2012

NHL Trade Speculation: Pittsburgh Penguins Prospects That Could Be Traded

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    The Pittsburgh Penguins have one of the strongest prospect systems in the NHL, specifically when it comes to defensemen and forwards who may not be star players but have the ability to make positive contributions on the NHL level.

    However, this can also create a traffic jam at some positions, meaning that some of these prospects may not get a chance to prove themselves. This is especially true when trying to crack a Penguins roster that boasts the likes of Evgeni Malkin and Jordan Staal at forward, Brooks Orpik on defense and Marc-Andre Fleury in goal.

    If the Penguins plan on doing anything this trade deadline, they might have to move some of their prospects to get a player that will help them towards a higher playoff seed.

    Here are four prospects that could end up on the move.

Nick Petersen, Right Wing

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    Petersen, drafted in 2009, is in his second professional season. He split last year between the Wheeling Nailers of the ECHL and the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins of the AHL. In Wheeling, he had 57 points in 40 games before coming to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and posting 14 points and was a plus-seven.

    However, Petersen was virtually a non-factor in the AHL Penguins' playoff run, with just two goals in 11 games.

    This season, he has 12 points and is a plus-six through 28 games, but he's missed time due to injury. He was sent to Wheeling for conditioning, where he had nine points in seven games while getting his legs back.

    But since returning to Wilkes-Barre, Petersen has not seen the ice a lot. He has been a healthy scratch over the Pens' last three games, mainly because there is no room for him in the lineup with forwards such as Eric Tangradi and Colin McDonald getting playing time.

    Even though Petersen can play and is clearly ready to handle the AHL once again, it is cause for concern that he is continually scratched, and this could mean a move out of town.

Eric Tangradi, Left Wing

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    The case of Eric Tangradi is one of the most curious in the Penguins' organization right now.

    When he came over in a 2009 trade with the Anaheim Ducks that brought Chris Kunitz to Pittsburgh, he was thought to be a top forward prospect, something the Pens desperately needed in their system.

    Tangradi is in his third professional season and has two 30-point campaigns in Wilkes-Barre. He has 29 points so far this season and could post 50 points if he stays on pace, as he currently scores about 0.83 points per game.

    But his NHL stints have been mostly disappointing. Over 28 games in Pittsburgh, he has just three points and a minus-nine rating. He's also been passed over for call-ups at times this year, staying in the AHL while players such as Colin McDonald and Jason Williams get the chance in the NHL.

    In Wilkes-Barre, Tangradi often seems unmotivated on the ice and disappears for stretches of time. He will have to start showing more of a willingness to work hard, as well as produce in the NHL, if he wants to stay around and crack the Pittsburgh roster. Otherwise, the Penguins could trade him if they decide they are out of patience with him.

Joe Rogalski, Defenseman

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    Rogalski was drafted in the sixth round of the 2010 NHL entry draft, and he is currently in his fifth season in the Ontario Hockey League. He spent four years with the Sarnia Sting before moving to the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds this year.

    His production has dropped from last season, as he has 17 points and a minus-22 rating over 51 games. However, this is still good enough for second among Greyhounds defensemen in scoring. 

    Hockey's Future says that while Rogalski has a good physical edge and is a quick skater, he could work on developing offense and using his size to his advantage.

    It's too hard to say how Rogalski will turn out, but his weak plus/minus rating could be a cause for concern.

Carl Sneep, Defenseman

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    Sneep is in his second pro season with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. An injury has limited him to just 33 games, giving him nine points and a plus-five rating. Last season, he played 61 games and had 17 points with a plus-17 rating.

    He had a brief call-up to Pittsburgh this year and had an assist in the only game he played, a December matchup with the Buffalo Sabres

    Although Sneep has a lot of potential and can play in different situations, he tends to be unnoticeable on the ice. He could be thrown in as part of a deal for a team looking for a defenseman that may not be too far off from the NHL.

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