Player: Teddy Blueger
Born: August 15, 1994 (26-years-old)
Height: 6’ 0”
Weight: 185 lbs.
Birthplace: Riga, Latvia
Draft: 2012 Pittsburgh Penguins, 2nd round, 22nd pick (52nd overall)
2019-20 Statistics: 69 games played, 9 goals, 13 assists, 22 points
Contract Status: Completed year 1 of 2-year extension. Has a cap hit of $750K in 2020-21; will be RFA after 20-21 season
Last season saw Teddy B make his NHL debut, with the forward registering 6 goals and 10 points in 28 games a defensive centerman/contributing depth forward.
Pensburgh readers thought Blueger had a very positive NHL debut, with his 2018-19 season review poll grade coming in at a B.
Regular Season History & 2019-20 Season
—Blueger’s first full year at the NHL level saw him almost exclusively in a bottom-six role, often centering the “fourth” line alongside Brandon Tanev and Zach Aston-Reese.
Collectively, the line grew into a defensive powerhouse thanks in part to Blueger’s play and defensive responsibility.
At this point, you know what you’ll be getting with Blueger. He’ll chip in here and there offensively; he’s not totally inept with the puck on his stick, which is what the Penguins will need looking ahead, but he is going to be deployed as a trustworthy, defense-first center, ticking all the boxes for Mike Sullivan and co. heading into 2020-21.
Advanced Stats History & 2019-20 Season
—First off, Blueger improved his 5v5 possession metrics, bumping both his CF% and FF% past 50 percent, helping the Penguins maintain the puck while he was on the ice.
If you scroll to look at Blueger’s zone starts, you’ll see 70% of the time he was deployed in the defensive zone. Obviously, Blueger isn’t known for his flashy offensive instincts, rather his defensive steadiness that was previously mentioned. An all-around solid contributor filling out an important bottom-six role against opposing offenses.
Not much to speak of in the playoff department here (I guess the same could be said for the entire team. Zing!), but Teddy did notch his first playoff point, a goal, in Game 3 of the play-in series.
—Pretty darn consistent all across the board points-wise with the exception of November. Two game-winners in December is a nice feather in the cap. Blueger got just about all his penalties out of the way early in the season too.
Teddy Blueger’s first full NHL season was an improvement from his smaller sample size the season prior. At 26-years-old, making only $750,000, Blueger falls into a category of cheap, effective depth, which the Penguins will surely rely upon as they look to shake things up.
He may not score a ton of points, but that’s not what you’re paying him for. As an anchor to the fourth line, his role will likely remain unchanged.
More of the same. If he can grow offensively, that’s even more of a bonus. But I’ll take 20+ points from my fourth line all day. With next season looking to start around December, if the NHL wants its calendar to fall back in line with that of previous off-seasons (assuming everything returns to a safe normal, of course), I can see 40-50-ish games being played, so maybe temper your expectations of offensive output for a guy like Blueger.
Question to Ponder
I think the biggest question facing Blueger heading into next season will be: who will play alongside him? Will Zach Aston-Reese return to Pittsburgh next season? If Jim Rutherford does make roster changes, one would assume a few of them would be made in the bottom-six. If Blueger is deployed with Tanev and his speed, it may make for another solid year with those two. We shall wait and see what happens to the roster.
Grade Jack Johnson’s 2019-20 Performance:
This poll is closed