The Pittsburgh Penguins will hopefully have Teddy Blueger around for at least two more seasons, according to GM Ron Hextall. On Wednesday afternoon, the Penguins dished a new two-year contract to the pending RFA, though the deal does not include Seattle expansion draft protection.
At least that we currently know.
The Penguins inked Blueger for two years with an average annual value of $2.2 million. Last season, Blueger was primarily the Penguins third line center until the team acquired Jeff Carter at the NHL trade deadline. Blueger has found success between Zach Aston-Reese and Brandon Tanev as either the third or fourth Penguins line.
“Teddy has proven to be a versatile, two-way center, as well as a fixture on the penalty kill,” said Ron Hextall. “He is a valuable player for our team.”
UPDATE: Per Puckpedia.com, the Penguins are currently $1 million over the cap.
After signing Blueger for 2 years $2.2M Cap Hit, #LetsGoPens have $1M of Cap Space with 20 players on Projected Roster (11F/7D/2G).
RFA: Jankowski, Aston-Reese, Zohorna
UFA: Ceci, Rodrigues, Gaudreauhttps://t.co/UXcXzCq6ol
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) July 14, 2021
Blueger, 26, scored 22 points (7-15-22) and was plus-10 in 43 games. His 22 points tied his career-high set in 2019-20, while his 15 assists, plus-10, and .51 points-per-game average were all career bests. He also led the team in ice-time while shorthanded at 2:09.
The Latvian native notched three shorthanded goals, too.
One interesting franchise anomaly, Blueger has played 140 NHL games. Next season, he could become the first Pittsburgh Penguins second-round pick since Greg Malone in 1976 to play more than 200 NHL games for the team (in one stint). In his NHL career, Blueger 22 goals, 32 assists, 54 points, four shorthanded goals, four game-winning goals, and is plus-19.
He spent part of four seasons with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins before breaking through in 2018-19. He has also played for the Latvian national team at three world championships (2017-19).
The signing leaves linemate Zach Aston-Reese as the Penguins prime RFA without a contract. However, the Penguins must submit their protected list by Saturday at 5 p.m. for the Seattle Kraken expansion draft. The list will be made public on Sunday, but neither Blueger nor Aston-Reese are expected to be protected.
The Penguins selected Teddy Blueger in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft, and he played four years of college hockey at Minnesota State from 2012-16.
Editor’s note: The original version stated Aston-Reese was the only RFA remaining with arbitration rights. The line was removed.