This kid is tall. Like Alien tall.
The Cats have agreed to an entry-level contract with forward Nick Bjugstad, the 19th overall selection of 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
[The potential for a league lockout/strike in 2012-13] sits in the back of your head. Obviously, it's speculation on what's going to happen with the NHL season. You don't really know what's going to happen. The AHL is a really good league as well. ... There's going to be some changes money-wise and all that. I just felt like for my future I can develop here and really gain my confidence and become a better player.
It’s up to him [to leave school and go pro]. Whatever he decides to do. If he wants to turn pro and fight for a roster spot, we’ll go forward. If he wants to go back to school then we’ll let him do that. We never tell kids to play in junior or to leave school. Let the kids do what they want to do. They’ll tell you when they are ready.
The big knock on [Bjugstad] before last season was his skating. Now at 6'4 with the hands and hockey IQ he possesses, nobody's expecting him to be Pavel Bure out there, but his skating needed to improve. And that's what he did last offseason. The result was an explosive first step and an ability to better gain separation and speed on his first couple of strides. That, with the combination of off-season conditioning and a year of maturity, led to the explosion we saw as a sophomore.
Gophers sophomore center Nick Bjugstad, who led the team with 25 goals this past season, will wait until mid-May when the semester ends before he makes a decision on returning or not. A source close to Bjugstad said he remains undecided on what he will do, leaning one way one day, the other way the next day, so he is giving himself more time to be sure.
The Florida Panthers, who took him in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft, have told him the decision is his.
Florida Panthers prospect Kyle Rau answering reporters' questions after scoring two goals in Minnesota's 3-2 victory over Nebraska-Omaha Saturday. Video was taken by Matthew Semisch of Radio Free Omaha/USCHO