This is the third installment in a series of profiles of members of the Penguins' major-league roster, as listed alphabetically on the team's website. There will be one each weekday until all players have been addressed.
Age: 24 (will be 25 on Aug. 15) Size: 6 feet, 185 pounds Position: Center Acquired: Second-round draft choice, 2012 Salary-cap hit: $750,000 through 2020-21 2018-19 NHL stats: Six goals, four assists in 28 games
How he fits: He's a logical candidate to replace Matt Cullen in the middle of the fourth line, although he can be deployed on the wing, as well.
Shortcomings: While 28 games is a pretty small sample size, Blueger's success rate of 44.8 percent on faceoffs last season is a cause for concern. He also could benefit from adding a little muscle and needs to make a point of putting more pucks on goal, too, after recording just 33 shots in 28 appearances in 2018-19.
Strengths: His versatility is a plus on a team that places a premium on players being able to move up and down the lineup and between two or three positions. Blueger has a high hockey IQ, the value of which is compounded by a strong work ethic.
Hidden variable: Mike Sullivan does not, as a rule, tend to be won over quickly by young players, and he seemed reluctant to give Blueger much ice time or responsibility during his early weeks in the league. Blueger appeared to win him over as time went on, but it remains to be seen how much of a workload Sullivan is prepared to give him this season.
2019-20 expectations: Blueger has shown enough flashes of playmaking ability that, despite filling a decidedly blue-collar role, it's reasonable to expect him to generate assists more frequently than he did during his rookie season, when he averaged one every 6 1/2 games. If he can handle Cullen's old job well and contribute to the penalty-killing unit, Blueger might qualify as a salary-cap bargain.
The big question: Is Blueger ready to take over as fourth-line center and if so, can he perform well enough in that role to eventually merit a move up the depth chart?