With the grind that is the NHL regular season, injuries are bound to occur, and a team’s depth is crucial to make sure they can fight on.
GM Jim Rutherford has added to the depth of the Pittsburgh Penguins by re-signing three players who were contributing factors to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins last season.
From the Penguins:
The Pittsburgh Penguins have re-signed forwards Teddy Blueger and Thomas Di Pauli and defenseman Ethan Prow to one-year contracts, it was announced today by executive vice president and general manager Jim Rutherford.
All three contracts are two-way deals that contain an average annual value of $650,000 at the NHL level.
Blueger, 23, wrapped up his second full professional season by ranking second on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with 21 goals, and third with 45 points, in 70 games played. His 21 tallies tripled his output from his rookie campaign.
A 6-foot, 185-pound native of Riga, Latvia, Blueger led all AHL players with four overtime goals in 2017-18. His output earned him a one-week NHL stint with Pittsburgh, although he didn’t appear in any games. In two-plus seasons with WBS, Blueger has 76 points (28G-48A) and a plus-38 in 134 games.
Di Pauli, 24, contributed 12 goals, eight assists and 20 points with three game-winning goals in his second season with WBS. In two seasons with WBS, he has totaled 14 goals, eight assists and 22 points in 79 games.
The Penguins signed the speedy 5-foot-11, 188-pound Di Pauli as a free agent on August 19, 2016. He was originally chosen by the Washington Capitals in the fourth round (100th overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, but he elected to go to free agency following a four-year collegiate career at Notre Dame.
Prow, 25, has skated for WBS for the past two-plus campaigns, contributing 34 points (5G-29A) and a plus-4 in 104 appearances. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound native of Sauk Rapids, Minnesota had 17 points (4G-13A) in 40 games in 2017-18. His goal and point totals established career highs.
Out of the three players here, the one to keep an eye on as training camp and the preseason approaches is Blueger. Many in the organization feel he could be contributing on the NHL roster at some point this season. However, with the recent signings of Riley Sheahan and Matt Cullen, Pittsburgh’s center depth is all of a sudden pretty stacked.
However, you can never have too many capable bodies waiting in the wings if the Injury Bug strikes.
Tristan Jarry is now the only restricted free agent yet to re-sign with the Penguins.