Spotlight on Pittsburgh Penguins Joseph Blandisi in 2020

Joseph Blandisi #64 of the New Jersey Devils watches the play against the New York Rangers

Drafted at 162 overall in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft by the Colorado Avalanche, 25-year-old Joseph Blandisi plays at forward for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the American Hockey League (AHL) and the Pittsburgh Penguins in the National Hockey League (NHL). Take a look at his career so far and the 2020 sports betting odds for “Blender” Bandisi.

Road to the NHL

Joe Blandisi #64 of the New Jersey Devils skates in his first NHL game against Riley Sheahan #15 of the Detroit Red Wings

Joseph Blandisi was born on July 18, 1994, in Markham, Ontario, Canada. In 2009/10 he played for the Toronto Red Wings U16 team in the Greater Toronto Hockey League. He appeared in seven Junior A games with the Vaughan Vipers in 2010/11, taking the honors as top scorer for the Vaughan Kings with 51 goals and 41 assists in 41 games with the Kings.

At age 17 after playing in the Ontario Junior Hockey League, he was picked at 61 overall by the Owen Sound Attack in the 2011 Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Following his rookie season, the Canadian was drafted 162nd overall by the Colorado Avalanche in the sixth round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

He was later traded in his 2012/13 sophomore season to the Ottawa 67’s in exchange for Cody Ceci. Blandisi improved his rookie season stats, clocking 51 points in 63 games. The verdict was that what Blandisi lacked in height at five feet 11 inches, he made up for with a solid frame.

In the 2013/14 season, he was traded to the Barrie Colts. But after picking up a viral infection that robbed him of the second half of the season, he was limited to playing just 47 games. Even so, Blandisi managed to build on his point-per-game scoring rate, scoring 24 goals and 50 points in 47 games while dividing his time between Barrie and Ottawa of the Ontario Hockey League.

In the off-season, the Colorado Avalanche chose to pass on their option to sign Blandisi who had been their six round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, and the 20-year-old was again entered in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft but this time was passed over.

Blandisi accepted an invitation in September 2014 to attend the Buffalo Sabres pre-season training camp but came away without a contract.

While with the Barrie Colts, he made captain and broke out offensively in his overage season, leading the club in scoring. By end of the season, he took honors as lead goal scorer in the OHL with 52 markers in 68 games and was placed fourth overall with 112 points. By the time the Colts exited in the second round, post-season, Blandisi had won the Leo Lalonde Memorial Trophy as OHL overage player of the year. He was also named second for the OHL’s Most Outstanding Player Award and Red Tilson Trophy.

Professional career

Joseph Blandisi #64 of the New Jersey Devils during game against Buffalo Sabres in 2017

In January 2015, Blandisi signed a three-year entry-level contract with the New Jersey Devils. He started his professional career in the 2015/16 season with the American Hockey League’s Albany Devils. In his first season at pro level, the Canadian scored a solid 16 points in 18 games and his first recall to the NHL followed on December 10, 2015.

On December 11, 2015, his impressive New Jersey Devils NHL debut, centering a line between Kyle Palmieri and Jiří Tlustý, resulted in a 3–2 overtime victory against the Detroit Red Wings. His first NHL point came on January 12, 2016, with an assist on a Lee Stempniak goal. Nine days later, Blandisi netted his first NHL goal as well as two assists in a 3-point first period that ended with a 5–0 Devils lead against the Ottawa Senators – their biggest output for a single period of the season.

Bandisi ended the season with five goals, 12 assists and 34 penalty minutes in 41 games. Four of his five goals came on the power play when Blandisi had two assists. His only game-winning goal came on February 14, 2016 in a 1–0 victory against the Los Angeles Kings.

The forward saw in the 2017/18 season with New Jersey’s new AHL affiliate, the Binghamton Devils. While on duty with the Devils, he clocked up 14 points in 19 games before being traded along with Adam Henrique in a third-round 2018 draft pick to the Anaheim Ducks. He was traded for Sami Vatanen and a conditional draft pick in 2019 or 2020.

He was selected to play in the 2017 AHL All-Star Classic while skating for the Albany Devils. At the time the Canadian forward had 100 points, 33 goals and 67 assists in 133 career AHL contests with San Diego, Binghamton, and Albany.

Blandisi started the next season with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls of the AHL before he was called up to the Anaheim Ducks where he played in three scoreless games. Back at the Gulls, Blandisi chalked up 23 points in 27 games.

On January 16, 2019, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for center Derek Grant, carrying an average annual value of $680,000 at the NHL level. But after only 6:49 of ice-time his Pittsburgh debut in a 3-2 overtime win over the Coyotes, he was sent down to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.

Blandisi was called up to the NHL in October 2019 to replace injured Andrew Agozzino then was returned to the AHL. Following injuries to Sidney Crosby and Nick Bjugstad, Blandisi in November 2019, was again recalled from the AHL for the second time, and in only 7:33, he made two shots on goal and won four of seven face-offs in a 5–4 overtime loss to the Islanders. After a capable showing, he was returned to the AHL.

Bandisi bounced back to the NHL in January 2020 – for the seventh time in the season – to replace Dominik Kahun who had suffered a concussion. In total, he has shown in 21 NHL games this season, contributing five points made up of two goals and three assists, compared to eight points of four goals and four assists in 16 AHL games.

Joe Bandisi 2020 prospects

Joseph Blandisi #36 of the Pittsburgh Penguins during NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes January 12, 2020

Most agree that Blandisi has the creativity, skating, and shooting ability to be a scorer in the NHL. That said, he has spent most of his pro career in the AHL, establishing his reputation as a skillful agitator. While he bounces between the NHL and AHL, the 25-year-old may be running out of time to avoid topping out as an AHL top-sixer.

Now in their 53rd season, the Penguins have qualified for the playoffs 33 times and have won the Stanley Cup five times in 1991, 1992, 2009, 2016, and 2017. In total they have won five Stanley Cups, six Conference Titles, eight Division Titles, and one Presidents’ Trophy. This year coach Mike Sullivan will do all he can to extend the Penguins playoff streak to 14 seasons. Second on the Metropolitan Division table with 67 points earned in 50 games and half-way through the season, they’re still in the running.

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