After the news that Tom Kuhnhackl would be officially out for multiple weeks and that Carter Rowney got listed as day-to-day, rumors swirled around Daniel Sprong or Jean-Sebastien Dea to return to Pittsburgh to take the place of either forward. Instead, now that Conor Sheary has returned to practice after his latest injury, prospect Teddy Blueger will make his NHL debut as the team prepares to face a tough Dallas Stars club. Patric Hornqvist and Kuhnhackl have been placed on the injured reserve list to make way for roster space.
As one of the captains of the Penguins summer prospect challenge, Blueger turned some heads throughout the week. He’s such a skilled, hard working player, and his dedication to improving throughout his development has jumped out at many of the coaches on the Pens staff. Many compliment the cerebral element that leads his play maturation.
Known for his playmaking style, Blueger flashes great stick-handling ability, shows elite vision on the ice, and is a force at the face off dot. Apparently, his gloves are silky smooth. He also doesn’t let his small size affect his game, as he tends to flood the dirty areas of the ice to win puck battles — this is where we see his two-way game in action. Blueger’s upside is very high, especially offensively. He claims to model himself after the play style of Pavel Datsyuk, as the two players excel at similar things.
In 45 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Blueger has tallied 26 points (12 goals, 14 assists). AHL statistics aren’t super advanced to check his Corsi and Fenwick percentages, but he’s a plus-10 in plus-minus for what it’s worth. You can take that however you want. He’s also fifth on the Baby Pens in shots on goal recorded, behind guys that are already called up to Pittsburgh, and naturally, Sprong.
Blueger has three overtime winning goals on the season so far — his most recent one coming just a few weeks ago — and has been playing really well down in the AHL as of late. He’s very deserving of this call up. Plus, it’ll be nice to finally see if Blueger has made the necessary adjustments to his game that were lagging back in the summertime — the ones that forced Rutherford and Sullivan to decide to assign him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the first place. How he fares up in the big league will provide tons of updated context.