The Florida Panthers on Wednesday signed forward Nick Bjugstad, their 2010 first-round draft choice, to a professional contract.
The 20-year-old, who was chosen No. 19 by the Panthers, completed his junior season at the University of Minnesota. He produced 21 goals and 36 points for the Gophers (26-9-5). He led the team with 11 power-play goals.
The hope in Florida is that Bjugstad will become the top-line center the organization covets.
In 109 career games at Minnesota, the 6-foot-5, 212-pound power forward has 54 goals, 98 points and a plus-22 rating.