With their inconsistent play this season, the Pittsburgh Penguins have been shifting players around, looking to spark some forward motion and secure a playoff spot. One of the answers to the Pens’ problems may be right in front of their faces: Teddy Blueger.
The Fans Want Teddy Blueger
Penguins fans rallied long and hard for Blueger to get a chance to shine at the NHL level. After watching his development in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, many felt he deserved the call-up. The Latvian lead the team in scoring claiming 21 goals in 45 games. Blueger tied his career-high from the 2017-18 season of 21 goals in 70 games.
Blueger’s stamina, agility, and defensive responsibility were on full display. He waited patiently for his chance as the Penguins continued to ride the wave of their up-and-down play. For a team that looked like they could use a vat of coffee on most nights, Blueger’s tenacity alone would be an invaluable asset.
The Anticipated Call-up
Finally, Pittsburgh fans had their wish granted on January 30th. He made his NHL debut as he slotted into the lineup against the Tampa Bay Lightning. Blueger’s energy is exactly what the team needed and adding him to the ice injected that energy into the Penguins instantly. Three minutes into his first NHL game, Blueger headed to the net. After shaking two Lightning defencemen, his play gave former Penguin Riley Sheahan an opportunity to grab the puck and score on the rebound.
Originally labeled as a mostly defensive center, Blueger shattered that perception. The young forward quickly notched his first NHL goal in his second game. He worked his way onto the Pens penalty kill unit. He’s a dynamic player, able to be used at the wing as well. The rookie is a serious asset to the organization.
Pleading Blueger’s Case
It’s time for the Penguins to take a hard look at Blueger and his case for a permanent place in the lineup. Both Garrett Wilson and Dominik Simon have been on the Pens bench for much longer and haven’t shown as much promise as Blueger. Wilson is pointless in his last eight games. Additionally, Simon hasn’t tallied a goal in his last 15 games. Blueger’s already notched three goals and an assist in just 12 games.
He won’t net a point in every appearance, but you can bet his endurance, hunger, and that ever-present energy will be invaluable night after night. Blueger’s proven himself at the AHL level. He waited his turn and he’s showing he can perform in the big league. Now it’s time to solidify his place on Pittsburgh’s roster.
PITTSBURGH, PA – FEBRUARY 13: Pittsburgh Penguins Left Wing Teddy Blueger (53) looks on during the third period in the NHL game between the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Edmonton Oilers on February 13, 2019, at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, PA. (Photo by Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)