Teddy Blueger’s first year was nothing short of a luxury for the Canucks: Year in Review

Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Tyson Cole
1 month ago
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After the Vegas Golden Knights 2022-2023 Stanely Cup championship, they had no choice but to make some tough decisions with some of their depth pieces. Luckily for the Vancouver Canucks, Teddy Blueger was one of them.
The Canucks wasted no time signing the Stanley Cup champion, Teddy Blueger, as they agreed on a contract on the opening day of free agency. Blueger signed a one-year, $1.9M deal with Vancouver, taking a $300K discount from his previous $2.2M deal. The club had a plan for Blueger right from the get-go.

Teddy Blueger’s Season

Blueger’s season wasn’t ideal. He started the season by missing the first month with an undisclosed injury. He didn’t make his Canucks debut until November 12th against the Montreal Canadiens. Blueger would start centring the fourth line with Anthony Beauvillier and Sam Lafferty.
And then an injury to Pius Suter would change Blueger’s season completely.
With Suter out with an injury, Blueger filled his role as the third-line centre between Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland and never gave it back.
At first, the trio, or as Lachlan likes to call them, the ‘Good Job Boys,’ succeeded with minimal results as they only registered 11 points between the three of them in 14 games. However, that was when Canucks fans could see their chemistry start to build. Despite the lack of point production, Blueger, Joshua and Garland were the top three forwards in expected goals for percentage (xGF%) and scoring chance for percentage (SCF%) of all Canucks forwards.
But this would all change in mid-December when they finally got rewarded for their efforts. And it all started with this goal.
The following two-month stretch from December 13th until February 14th was all about Blueger and the third line. Garland led the way with 18 5-on-5 points, but Blueger was tied with Elias Pettersson for second with 17 points – including highlight reel goals like these against a formidable Dallas Stars opponent.
The line found a lot of its success down low. Two players would cycle in the corners or behind the net, with one player waiting — usually uncovered — for a quick shot in the high-danger area. As the F3, it was typically Blueger as the one looming around the middle area waiting for the pass, but he showed his versatility and willingness to get in the gritty areas. With a Columbus Blue Jackets defencemen draping over him, Blueger gives Garland a no-look pass, who finds the back of the net.
Although Blueger was still feeding his teammates, he went through a difficult goalless drought. After scoring his fifth goal in his 22nd game of the season, Blueger would go 41 games without scoring another goal. In real-life terms, he scored on December 28th, 2023, and wouldn’t score again until April 6th, 2024.
To be fair, a fight between Dakota Joshua and MacKenzie Entwistle on February 14th wouldn’t help his slow nights in the red-light district. Joshua would sustain a hand injury in the fight that knocked him out of the Canucks lineup for a month and a half.
The following few games without Joshua were spent with Blueger having a revolving door of left-wingers, playing with Ilya Mikheyev, Arshdeep Bains and Suter before Elias Lindholm returned from his injury. At this point, Blueger was demoted to the fourth line, now centring Phil Di Giuseppe and Sam Lafferty.
It must have been such a culture shock for Blueger. Going from an all-time high, playing 13:05 minutes of 5-on-5 ice time, playing with confidence and seeing the results with Garland and Joshua to seeing his minutes restricted to 11:23 with lesser linemates.
But that didn’t discourage Blueger. He shifted his game from the offensive side and was relied upon for his defensive play. Blueger was a trusted penalty killer for the Canucks, as he would finish second on the team in average shorthanded time on ice, only trailing Elias Lindholm by two seconds, who would play just 28 games for Vancouver.
The playoffs were more of the same for Blueger. He was stuck on the fourth line and would register an assist in both Game 1’s of their series against the Nashville Predators and Edmonton Oilers.
But his efforts this season certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Canucks General Manager, Patrik Allvin, had this to say about the fourth line and Teddy Blueger’s contribution to it.
“Having Teddy Blueger as your fourth line centre is a luxury. We can hopefully find that identity again of being hard to play against and playing with speed.”

Teddy Blueger’s Final Stats

Here are the final 2023-2024 numbers for Teddy Blueger.
Blueger’s 22 assists and 28 points were the highest of his career. He was well on his way to setting career highs in goals, but he finished with six bleak goals without scoring for half of the regular season.
Here are the final analytical numbers for Teddy Blueger.
Diving into the deep numbers, this was the best analytical season of his career. Blueger proved this year that when paired with the right linemates, he can excel both offensively and defensively.
However, his numbers drastically changed when he played away from Dakota Joshua and Conor Garland.
As you can see, Blueger severely struggled away from his two regular linemates. Now, this may not all be his fault, given the level of players he had playing on his wings, but in fourth-line matchups, one would hope these numbers were more encouraging.
With Blueger signing just a one-year deal, the Canucks have a decision to make if they want to bring back a regular third-line centre and a luxury fourth-line centre. But it sounds like a mutual interest in his long-term return.
“Yeah, I enjoyed my time a lot, like I said earlier. Some of those decisions are kind of out of my control,” Blueger said when asked about his upcoming contract negotiations. “It’s a great place to be, I really enjoyed my time here so yeah, it’d be nice to get another crack at it with this group.”
Throughout the season, Tocchet continually praised the play of Teddy Blueger and what he brought to the Canucks organization. He’s a penalty-killing bottom-six centreman who proved he has an offensive upside. Blueger has been a perennial above 50% faceoff man and positively impacted the club’s success.
I’ll leave you with a few highlight reel plays, both offensively and defensively, to recap Teddy Blueger’s first season with the Vancouver Canucks.
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