The Pittsburgh Penguins have a plethora of young talent ready to prove themselves at the NHL level and Teddy Blueger is no exception. The Latvian center plays a strong two-way game and is eager to break into the big leagues.
With free agency claiming some of the Pittsburgh Penguins veterans, the team will look to the youth to fill various roles and positions. Teddy Blueger is one such player that has been stewing in the minors, itching to make an impact.
Teodors Blugers (stylized Teddy Blueger in North America) is a 6 foot, 194 pound center hailing from Riga, Latvia. In 2009, Blueger began his junior career playing for Shattuck-St. Mary’s. This boarding school in Minnesota sounds familiar because it’s produced some serious NHL talent (Sidney Crosby, Jonathan Toews).
After an impressive 88 point season to cap off his junior hockey career, Blueger was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins 52nd overall of the 2012 NHL Draft. He then played 4 years of collegiate hockey at Minnesota State University. During his senior season, he led all players with 35 points and 7 game winning goals. Blueger ended the the 2015-2016 campaign on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins roster.
This past season was is first full(ish) year of AHL play. Blueger racked up 31 points (7 G, 24 A) in 54 games. Later that year, he also went on to represent Latvia at the 2017 IIHF World Championships.
Outlook for Blueger
According to HockeysFuture.com Blueger plays a strong two way game, and may be able to pot some timely goals.
"He is a skilled, two-way player who possesses a great hockey IQ. He also plays with a fair amount of physical flair, and is not afraid to get dirty in the corners or down low."
Now we’re not saying Blueger is the immediate answer at third line center. Jim Rutherford has made it clear that that is more of a “wait and see” type situation.
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But we are saying he plays a hungry game and can win faceoffs. With Dad Cullen and Nick Bonino leaving during the off season, those are the qualities the Penguins are looking for in their bottom six guys.
Last season in Wilkes-Barre, Blueger saw time on both the powerplay and penalty kill, proving he’s a multi-situational player. He’s a forward who the Pens could plug into different parts of the lineup. His versatility and hockey IQ could prove to be quite the asset at the NHL level.
Plus the kid tears it up in beer league.
He doesn’t have a flashy style, but he’s willing to grind and play a smart 200 foot game. I believe when those injuries rear their ugly head this season, Blueger is going to be among the first batch of reinforcements.