With Jonathan Quick and Christoffer Sedoff now in the mix, Teddy Blueger no longer has the title of 'newest member of the Vegas Golden Knights.' But he does have a unique trade experience that he will never forget regarding his trade to Las Vegas.
The Pittsburgh Penguins were on their Dad's trip and instead of calling in just Teddy to his office, Director of Hockey Operations for the Pens Brian Burke made sure that Teddy's father, Valentin Blueger was in the room when he told them both of the trade news.
"It was definitely surprising and it caught me off guard. I didn't see it coming at all. We were on our father's trip so my Dad was with me. Brian Burke actually said to 'grab your Dad, he can come in the room with us'… Once they come and tell you to come and see them you kind of know what is going on. You are either getting traded or being put on waivers so I was just hoping to be going to a good spot and I'm really happy to be here," said Blueger.
Blueger was acquired on Wednesday for prospect Peter Diliberatore and the Golden Knight's own 2024 3rd-round pick. The Golden Knights add Blueger's pending UFA contract of $2.2 million AAV to their payroll. This season Blueger has 10 points in 45 games as a defensive-minded bottom-six center.
"Teddy's reputation is as an elite defensive center and a very good penalty killer who has been an important player on some real good Penguin teams. He gives us a competitive advantage at the position," said general manager Kelly McCrimmon.
According to McCrimmon, this was not the first time the two teams discussed a Blueger trade.
"We had talked to Pittsburgh before about Teddy Blueger. He was a really important player to Mike Sullivan. You could tell by his usage. 83% of his shifts this year have been defensive zone starts. That's trust," McCrimmon added.
Blueger left the Penguins organization mid-road trip in Tampa Bay. He stated that he was already planning to have dinner with teammates, so finished that up and then rushed to the airport for a 10:00 flight out of Tampa and to Las Vegas. He admitted he doesn't have a lot of stuff with him.
"It's definitely a whirlwind. You hear the stories of all the other guys getting traded and nothing really prepares you. It's really chaotic, especially when you are on the road too. But yeah, I'm glad to be here now," said Blueger.
Blueger has spent his entire career in the Penguins' organization with both the NHL Penguins and Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins of the AHL after being drafted in the 2012 Draft (which was in Pittsburgh). He reunited with Phil Kessel in Vegas, who he played with in Pittsburgh in 2018-19.
"I was with some of those guys for a long time. Pittsburgh was great. My wife and I absolutely loved the city. You build relationships with people and you build your life there. In that sense it is hard but it is part of the business and you know you aren't going to be there forever most likely," said Blueger.
The Golden Knights add another forward to their system with both Mark Stone and Nicolas Roy out with injuries. Head coach Bruce Cassidy is looking to use Blueger in a shutdown defensive role as the team's likely fourth-line center, meaning Roy could move to the wing.
"We will use him in that role that he had in Pittsburgh. He will be a good penalty killer for us, have defensive responsibilities, play against good lines, take faceoffs, and we will see where it goes from there," said Cassidy.
The Golden Knights will play the New Jersey Devils tomorrow at home at 7:00 p.m. The Trade Deadline is also tomorrow at noon.