Meet the New Canucks: Teddy Blueger

On the opening day of free agency, the Vancouver Canucks signed Carson Soucy, Matt Irwin, and Ian Cole on defence and Teddy Blueger and Tristan Nielsen up front. For this edition of Meet the New Canucks, we will be focusing on Blueger, formally of the Pittsburgh Penguins and Vegas Golden Knights.

Who is Teddy Blueger?

Now a veteran of 268 NHL games, Blueger began his career in Pittsburgh after being selected in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2012 Draft. Another graduate of the vaunted Shattuck St. Mary’s pipeline, he made his NHL debut in 2018-19 against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Jan. 30, 2019, and promptly scored his first goal only a couple of days later against the Ottawa Senators. Shuttling between the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the parent club, he finished his rookie season with six goals and 10 points in 28 games.

Blueger spent four years at Shattuck-St. Mary’s (

Blueger became a full-time NHLer in 2019-20 and has never seen the AHL since. Before being traded to the Golden Knights this past season, he was a valued member of the Penguins’ bottom-six and penalty kill for parts of four seasons accumulating 33 goals and 92 points in 250 games. He was praised just this past November by then-head coach Mike Sullivan on how important he was to the lineup (specifically the penalty kill).

“He’s a real good player, a good two-way center iceman. He’s got an offensive dimension to his game, but he’s a real conscientious defensive center iceman. He’s good in the faceoff circle. He gets better every year in the faceoff circle, he just keeps improving there. He’s a real good penalty killer, he has great awareness away from the puck. And his offensive game, I think, is getting better and better with each game that he plays.”

Blueger has evolved into a high-energy third-line center capable of killing penalties, winning faceoffs (career 49.1 percent), and being physical (329 career hits). He also can provide some offence – even though he has yet to eclipse the nine-goal mark.

Blueger’s 2022-23 Season

Blueger began his fifth NHL season in Pittsburgh but was dealt at the 2023 Trade Deadline to the Golden Knights for a 2024 third-round pick and prospect Peter Diliberatore. Before joining Vegas for their Stanley Cup run, he had two goals and 10 points in 45 games, along with a plus/minus of minus-7 and a faceoff percentage (FO%) of 50.1. With the Golden Knights, he saw his average time on ice (ATOI) increase slightly from 12:46 to 13:16 and his FO% increase to 56.1.

Related: Meet the New Canucks: Carson Soucy

Despite being second on the Penguins in shorthanded time on ice per game (SH TOI/GP) with 2:37, he barely saw the penalty kill in Vegas logging only 0:47 SH TOI/GP in the 18 games he played in the regular season. He also only played six games in the playoffs (two in the second round against the Edmonton Oilers and four in the Western Conference Final against the Dallas Stars). He got his name on the Cup but didn’t suit up for a game in the Final giving way to Michael Amadio in Game 1.

All in all, Blueger was a bit of a footnote in the Golden Knights’ pursuit of the Cup. He did provide a bit of offence with a goal and two points in the six games, but ultimately he was not a big reason for their success.

Blueger’s Fit With the Canucks

Before the start of free agency, rumors swirled that the Canucks were in search of a third-line center and a few defencemen to round out their roster for the 2023-24 season (from ‘Canucks’ plans to upgrade the defense and what we’re hearing ahead of free agency’ The Athletic, 6/30/23). Blueger checks the box of the former as he has proven to be a solid two-way pivot since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2019-20. While the Golden Knights didn’t use his skill set very often, the Penguins appreciated his defensive game, penalty-killing, and lunchpail mentality throughout his time in the black and gold.

Teddy Blueger Vegas Golden Knights
Teddy Blueger, Vegas Golden Knights (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With the Canucks, Blueger will be expected to be the same forward that then-general manager (GM) Jim Rutherford and then director of European scouting/assistant GM got in the years they were in Pittsburgh. Overall, he played three seasons under Rutherford and five seasons under Allvin, so they most likely know the player they are getting.

Despite playing primarily on the fourth line in Vegas, Blueger has the ability to become a consistent third-line center ahead of Nils Aman. In the three seasons before 2022-23, he averaged around 15 minutes of ice time with the Penguins and saw regular time on the penalty kill. In fact, he led all forwards with 402:58 (2:17 ATOI/GP) and even received three votes for the Selke Trophy in 2019-20. Clearly, he knows how to play solid defence and can handle a good amount of minutes on the penalty kill and at even strength. He may not score a lot, but he’s exactly what the Canucks need in their bottom six and a definite upgrade to the special teams.

Canucks Entered Free Agency With Penalty Killing In Mind

The common theme running through all the additions the Canucks made on July 1 is penalty killing. All of Soucy, Cole, Irwin, and Blueger know how to kill penalties and have been good at it so far in their careers. They should substantially prop up a unit that finished dead last in the NHL in 2022-23 at an abysmal 71.6 percent efficiency rate.

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Blueger will probably head up the first unit penalty kill alongside Elias Pettersson or JT Miller. However, if the coaching staff decides to keep the dynamic shorthanded goal duo together, then he will lead the second unit with Aman, Ilya Mikheyev, or Dakota Joshua. Whatever the case, he will be what the Canucks thought they were getting with Jason Dickinson when they acquired him from the Stars in 2021.

As for who Blueger will play with on the third line, his wingers could consist of a combination of Vasily Podkolzin, Nils Hoglander, Tanner Pearson, Conor Garland, Phil Di Giuseppe, or even Anthony Beauvillier. Apart from the final defence spot alongside Tyler Myers, Blueger’s linemates might be the most intriguing battle to keep an eye on in training camp this year.

All stats were taken from and Elite Prospects.