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Bjugstad still has not made decision

  • Blog Post by: Roman Augustoviz
  • July 2, 2012 - 6:26 PM

In the rush to be first on Twitter, an erroneous report came out Monday afternoon that Nick Bjugstad had decided he was going to return to the University of Minnesota.

It had me scurrying to recheck my sources. I had blogged Bjugey, as Gophers coach Don Lucia usually calls him, would decide after Panthers training camp, after he returned home.

Could something have happened to speed up the decision? It's always possible, I suppose. But it turns out, what a source close to Bjugstad told me a while ago, is still true: no decision until after training camp.

The Panthers' first day of camp was Monday and at the end of the day, general manager Dale Tallon was asked about Bjugstad's sophomore season for the Gophers.

 "He had a great year," said Talon, who last month got a multi-year extension after the Panthers made the playoffs for the first time in 11 years. "He was disappointed [the Gophers]  did not win a national championship. But he is 6-foot-6, 220 pounds right now. So he is going to play at 6-6, 240, maybe more. They are hard to find. We are looking to get centermen and top offensive players and there are not many around. And the ones that are, are expensive.'

Bjugstad, as a rookie, would not be. 

Talon said the Panthers are excited about Bjugstad's future -- even if they have to wait.

"Whatever he decides to do, then we will move on with it," Talon said. "If he wants to turn pro and play for a spot, then we will go for it. If he wants to go back to school, then we will let him do that.

"We never tell kids whether to go to juniors or college, or leave college or  leave sooner then they are ready. ... It has always been our philosophy [to] let the kids decide what they want to do. And they will kind of tell you when they are ready."

To watch a five-minute interview with Tallon, click here.

LED U IN GOALS, SHOTS

Bjugstad led the Gophers in goals last season with 25. He also was first in shots with 145 and in efficiency, scoring on 17.2 percent of his shots. He was third on the team in points with 42, third with a plus-21 rating, tied for second in power-play goals with eight and had three game-winners, one hat trick and three unassisted goals.

He turns 20 later this month. He accelerated his studies in high school at Blaine so he could finish in three years and join the Gophers early.

He was always listed at 6-5, 211 last season, so it seems he has grown an inch and put on about 10 pounds since the start of last season.

* Kyle Rau, Bjugstad's left wing, is also at the Panthers camp. ... So are four other first-round draft picks. Florida took Bjugstad at No. 19 in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft.

 

 

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