The Instant Impact series rolls on with Minnesota State freshman Teddy Blueger.
Joey Benik, SCSU
Blake Tatchell, UAA
Hunter Fejes, CC
Nic Kerdiles, UW
Anthony Stolarz, UNO
Teddy Blueger, F, Minnesota State
Vitals: 5' 11" - 165 lbs - 8/15/1994
Hometown: Riga, Latvia
Previous Team: Shattuck-St. Mary's Prep
Minnesota State enters the 2012-13 season with a new head coach as former Nebraska-Omaha assistant Mike Hastings takes over for the departed Troy Jutting. Hastings inherits a squad with some very talented young forwards (freshmen Matt Leitner and Jean-Paul LaFontaine were the team's top two scorers in 2011-12) as well as a defensive corps that loses just one regular from a year ago. Gone is goaltender Austin Lee, but incoming freshman Stephon Williams will be expected to challenge experienced senior Phil Cook for the starting job.
While Minnesota State returns experience throughout their lineup, the fact remains that this is a team that finished second to last in the WCHA in both scoring offense and scoring defense last season. While they will count on the continued development of their young nucleus, in order for the Mavericks to take a big jump up the WCHA standings they will need a significant contribution from their freshman class. One newcomer who could provide such a boost is Teddy Blueger.
Blueger, a Latvian native, has spent the past few seasons honing his skills at Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Faribault, MN. In 2009-10 he led the SSM Under-16 team with 60 points (20G, 40A), while in 2010-11 he made the jump to the prep squad, where he ranked third in scoring with 66 points (24G, 42A) as the SSM prep team won the USA Hockey Tier 1 Under-18 national championship. He capped off his impressive SSM career last season by leading the team in scoring with 88 points (24G, 64A) as the Sabres successfully defended their Under-18 national championship. He was also selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins in the second round (52nd overall) of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.
Blueger is what SSM prep head coach and Director of Hockey Tom Ward calls "a prototypical centerman," a playmaker with great hands and vision that "a lot of players will want to be playing with." Known for his creativity and playmaking, Blueger is also a player that, despite his smallish frame, is not afraid to get into the corners or go to the front of the net, and as Ward notes, "he is a player who is around the puck a lot." Expect Blueger to use these special talents to produce an instant contribution to the Mavericks in 2012-13