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Prospect Profile #10 - Teddy Blueger

Our Top 25 Under 25 hits the Top 10 with 2012 2nd round pick Teodors Blugers.

Jamie Sabau

Who is this guy?

Teddy, alternatively listed as either Teodors Blugers or Theodor Blueger, is a 6'1" 183lbs Center from Riga, Latvia who was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 2nd round of the 2012 NHL Draft.

What are they saying about him?

Teddy is a skilled forward with Top 6 NHL potential, noted for his stickhandling and playmaking abilities as well as his success in the faceoff dot. Despite being criticized for lacking ideal size, although he has already grown a good deal in the past year, he has shown a fierce physical nature and a willingness to battle for the puck in the dirty areas of the ice. Assistant GM Tom Fitzgerald said of him "Skilled, very skilled, smart, cerebral-type player. Obviously, needs to get bigger and stronger and that's what college will do for him" and Assistant Director of Amateur Scouting Dan Sexton said "he fits everything that we were looking for. The offensive upside on him is very, very high."

Blueger grew up idolizing Peter Forsberg, and in international competition wears his #21, although obviously that cannot happen in Pittsburgh. However, despite idolizing Forsberg, he says the player he models his game on is Pavel Datsyuk. "I try to model my game after Datsyuk. I like to watch what he does and try some of the moves in practice. I think my strengths are also kind of similar to his. I’m obviously not as good but I think my strengths are hockey sense, vision, stickhandling, and that’s what he’s the best at."

He is a sight to see when he has the puck, as noted by Hockey's Future "It is his silky puck-moving ability however that sets him apart from other prospects. He is able to move through traffic with ease, as though the puck was attached to his stick." However, it remains to be seen how he will perform once reaches the professional level, as some of the overly fancy moves he is famous for might not be able to work against the big boys. His size and strength, while already improving, as still a bit of a concern in that he needs to be able to compete with larger NHL opponents. However, even if he falls a bit and is unable to make it as a Top 6 playmaker, he functions as a solid two-way Center that can contribute on both the PP and PK, so he could always contribute as an excellent Check line center in the vein of cerebral yet undersized Brandon Sutter.

Where has he been?

Teddy moved to North America from his native Latvia at the age of 14 and joined the prestigious Shattuck St. Mary's prep school. He was one of their top scorers, and was impressive enough to be ranked in the Top 60 on most lists and drafted by the Pens in the 2nd round. He then signed on with the University of Minnesota State - Mankato Mavericks, where he played as a Freshman last year. Internationally he has also played for Team Latvia at the World Juniors for the past 3 seasons, twice at U20, twice at U18, and once at U17, and is expected to be back again this year.

When can we expect to see him?

Teddy is returning for his Sophomore season in the NCAA this year, and considering he was drafted into both the KHL and OHL but chose to join the NCAA I imagine he plans to stay until he gets his degree. So at the very least we can expect 3 more years until he gets an opportunity to attend NHL Training Camp and begin pushing for a spot on the roster. Of course he also has to prove that he deserves a contract before we even get to that point, as he still remains unsigned. He could need another year or two adjusting to the professional level in the AHL before he is ready to battle for an NHL job, so let's say another 3-5 years before we see him.

Why is he #10?

Teddy received 1 vote for 6th, 1 vote for 7th, 2 votes for 9th, 1 vote for 12th, 1 vote for 14th, 1 vote for 15th, 1 vote for 16th, and 1 vote for 22nd.

How can he climb the list?

Teddy needs to prove that he can contribute at the NCAA level the way he had been back at Shattuck St. Mary's, and then from there prove that he can translate that to the professional level. He also needs to continue to improve his strength and bulk up by adding a few pounds of muscle, which would extend his usefulness further down the lineup. Continuing to develop both offensively and defensively as a two-way forward will allow him to serve as either a Top 6 scoring playmaker or a Check line staple that can add to both the PP and PK. And as a Center on a team that is solid down the middle, he may want to work on transitioning to play Wing, as that will improve his chances of making the NHL club in Pittsburgh.