The Pittsburgh Penguins have reached an agreement with Teddy Blueger on a two-year, $750k AAV contract.
Teddy Blueger was a restricted free agent, and will remain a restricted free agent at the expiration of this deal. The two biggest takeaways from this contract is the fact that he is no longer Waiver Exempt and this is a one-way deal.
The contract has essentially guaranteed that Teddy will be one of the thirteen forwards on opening night. Many fans and writers have speculated that he will likely replace Matt Cullen, as the 4th Line Center.
He is certainly talented enough to move up and down the lineup, as shown last season, when he spent time along side Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby. He will likely be relied upon to take faceoffs in shorthanded situations. This is evident based on his 61% defensive zone start percentage.
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Last season, for the Penguins, he netted six goals and four assists in 28 games. While those are not fantastic numbers, they are quite impressive for the small sample size and limited ice time. He also contributed with a shorthanded goal, which lends more credence to the speculation that he will replace Cullen.
With this signing, the Penguins have about $850k in remaining cap space. They still have Zach Aston-Reese and Marcus Petterson unsigned. This would likely require another trade to clear out some salary, as Aston-Reese has elected to utilize Arbitration. It has also been reported, through multiple outlets, that Jim Rutherford prefers to get Petterson locked up to a longer term deal.
For me, I am thrilled at this deal for Blueger. It’s great value for the team, and guarantees him a spot on the NHL roster. While the jigsaw puzzle remains incomplete, we are one piece closer to what the opening night roster might look like. With just a few more weeks until training camp opens up, we will get a better understanding of the team makeup and play-style.