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10 thoughts: Expect Pens to push to sign Blueger this summer

A couple Pens notes on the end of the 2014-15 NHL season with the Pens fighting to hold off the Ottawa Senators. And news on 2012 2nd round pick Teddy Blueger

Marc DesRosiers-USA TODAY Sports

#1 Will the Pens be able to sign 2012 2nd round draft pick Teddy Blueger this summer? From talking to some contacts, the Minnesota State coaches think that Blueger will return to school next season for his senior season, where Blueger could be a real impact player. The Penguins, however, probably want to sign Blueger, which would end his NCAA eligibility and turn him pro.

What's the big deal? The potential to become an unrestricted free agent. If Blueger stayed in college, if he didn't agree to a contract with the Pens from next March-June 1, he could become a free agent on June 1, 2016 and get to pick his own team.

In recent years this has played out with Justin Schultz and Kevin Hayes leaving the teams that drafted them to pick their own teams. There are rumors this year that Bruins prospect Zane McIntyre and Columbus prospect Mike Reilly might follow suit.

#2 The Pens would almost surely not want to risk losing Blueger, if they can help it, so expect them to try and sign him this summer. If Blueger returns to school, we'll see if they can sign him following his senior year or if he decides to find a situation that might promise him a quicker path to the NHL.

#3 Final Blueger note- per the CBA, if Blueger does leave the Pens as an unsigned free agent, they get compensation in the former of a round lower than they got him. Which would mean a compensatory 3rd round pick in 2017.

#4 Solid tweet from Gretz:

This didn't include yesterday, with both Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin in the lineup but only 1 goal and a loss, which would be an aberration- though with 11 combined shot attempts for the duo, it wasn't for their lack of trying.

#5 It's no secret the Penguins haven't been able to win lately, but luckily for them, neither have Detroit (1-3-1 in last 5). For as much as there is panic around PIttsburgh, does Detroit (with one less ROW) actually have more to fear from Ottawa? Maybe not, since Pittsburgh will basically hold their own destiny in their own hands. Win Tuesday versus Ottawa, and the Pens in. (It won't be official if it's OT/SO win, but given the Pens last game is Buffalo, it looks good).

#6 Christian Ehrhoff seems like he is getting closer to his latest return from a head injury, that happened 2 weeks ago tomorrow, but is it too soon? Ehrhoff has returned twice from injury only to get knocked right back out. Seemingly with multiple head injuries too.

#7: All off-season, a lot of what was heard was facing adversity in the regular season. I would certainly think that applies to the Penguins now. Up 2-0 on Columbus almost after two periods...Outshooting Philly 22-4 in the first...There are some good signs there, but the final result hasn't mattered. This Penguins team seems a lot like the Kings of late, where their motto would seem to be "just get into the playoffs and anything can happen."

#8: And that it can. The Eastern Conference is wide-open this season. If the Penguins end up as a wild-card and get Montreal, who knows, perhaps that is a blessing in disguise. It would toss the Pens over in the Atlantic Division side of the playoff bracket with a 2nd round matchup vs a BOS/TB team (according to today's playoff picture). Is that better or worse  than facing 2 out of 3 of NYI, NYR and Washington? Could be.

#9: Final schedules down the stretch:

Pens: @OTT, NYI, @BUF

Ottawa: PGH,@NYR, @PHI

Detroit: CAR, @MTL, @CAR

Any combination of 4 points won by the Pens or lost by the Senators and the Pens are in. A regulation win would salt it away. The Pens could even go 1-0-2 and it would work.

The Pens also are in good shape on the first tie-breaker with Detroit, having 1 more ROW at current time. But with 2 more games vs. Carolina, one would think Detroit could catch or tie the Pens there.

#10: Comment of the week here from McNutty, had to share: