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Panthers Tab Bjugstad With #19

by Staff Writer / Florida Panthers

Rank: #13 North American Skater
Team: Blaine (HIGH-MN)
Pos: C                     Shoots: Right
Height: 6'4              Weight: 188
Born: 7/17/92          Born In: Minneapolis, MN
NHL Team: Minnesota Wild
NHL Player: Mikko Koivu
Shootout Move: "Bouchard 360"
Movie: Dumb & Dumber
Activity Away From The Rink: Tennis

After drafting a defenseman for the second straight year with their first pick with the selection of Erik Gudbranson, the Panthers turned their sights on getting a high quality prospect on the front end.

They found that with the selection of Blaine High School's (Minnesota) Nick Bjugstad with the 19th overall selection.

"I'm definitely excited," said Bjugstad. "The nerves have kind of gone away since it just happened so I'm really excited about going to the Florida Panthers and hopefully I can improve these next couple of years and play for them."

Panthers GM Dale Tallon said when he first started that he wanted to add size, speed, skill and character and after adding Gudbranson (6'4, 195lbs), they again added another player with good size and speed as the center is listed at 6'4 and 188lbs.

"I consider myself a big centerman that likes to make plays all over the ice," said Bjugstad. "I like to help out the d's in the defensive zone. This year I was relied on to score so I think I gained that part of the game too as well."

Bjugstad, ranked the top high school player by Central Scouting Service earned Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Award as he scored 29 goals and had 60 points in just 25 games.

"That's a great award to win in Minnesota and it was a great honor for me to win," said Bjugstad. "I worked hard and I grew up in a great part of town in Minnesota so I definitely have to credit my coaches and my family for that."

“He wants the puck and wants to make plays," said NHL Central Scouting's Jack Barzee. "He's a blue-collar type kid who works his tail off."

“Nick is a top level player who will become an outstanding professional some day," said Blaine head coach Dave Aus. "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.”

Bjugstad will attend the highly-touted University of Minnesota in the fall, one year ahead of schedule.

"I'm really excited," said Bjugstad. "We started these last couple of weeks lifting and going to school so I've adjusted and I'm looking forward to coming and helping the team out."
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