Leading up to the 2010 draft, Flordiapanthers.com will be highlighting some of the top prospects to look out for. At number 3, the Panthers have a lot of players to choose from. What direction and who will they pick?
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THE SHINNY: The top ranked high school player, Nick Bjugstad has earned that ranking after winning Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award (most outstanding high school senior).
Bjugstad was an offensive dynamo, scoring 29 goals and 60 points in just 25 games for Blaine. He will attend the University of Minnesota in the fall (one year ahead of schedule).
NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee: “He's further along and more polished than (Boston's Blake) Wheeler. He's also a better skater than David Backes was at the same age (17). The only difference is Backes was thicker, but the ingredients are there. He wants the puck and wants to make plays. He's a blue-collar type kid who works his tail off."
Blaine head coach Dave Aus: “Nick is a top level player who will become an outstanding professional some day. His greatest strengths are his shot, his vision and his unbelievable humbleness. He is an even better person, than he is a hockey player. He will be a popular player to fans and a great pro.”
NHL Team: Minnesota Wild NHL Player: Mikko Koivu Shootout Move: "Bouchard 360" Movie: Dumb & Dumber Website: youtube.com Pump-Up Song: "Thunderstruck" by ACDC Activity Away From The Rink: Tennis
For starters, the 6-foot-3 3/4, 188-pound Blaine High School junior happens to be the top-rated schoolboy skater -- No. 13 -- on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of North American skaters for the 2010 Entry Draft, to be held June 25-26 in Los Angeles.
He's athletically gifted, strong-willed and the prototypical captain. On top of that, he's getting bigger and better.
Bjugstad wins Minnesota Mr. Hockey Award (3.15.10) There's little doubt Blaine (Minn.) High School forward Nick Bjugstad will be the highest U.S. scholastic player drafted when the NHL holds its annual selection process at Staples Center in Los Angeles on June 25-26.
Those odds increased March 14 when Bjugstad became the only player from Blaine ever to win the Mr. Hockey Award as the most outstanding high school senior in the state of Minnesota. The award, selected by a panel of NHL scouts, NCAA Division I coaches and media members from around the state, was presented to Bjugstad at the RiverCentre in St. Paul.