Two more Gophers hockey players leave program early

  • Article by: RACHEL BLOUNT , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 3, 2013 - 8:13 PM

A day after defenseman Nate Schmidt announced he was turning pro, two more juniors on the Gophers hockey team — Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish — followed suit Wednesday.

Bjugstad, a 6-5 center, signed an entry-level deal with Florida, which picked him 19th overall in the first round of the 2010 NHL draft. Budish, chosen by Nashville in the second round of the 2009 draft, signed an amateur tryout contract with the Predators’ AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

Bjugstad, 20, pondered whether to turn pro for several months last year before announcing in July that he would return for a third season. Though he did not win the NCAA championship he wanted — and was emotional after the Gophers’ 3-2 overtime loss to Yale in their West Regional opener last Friday — Gophers coach Don Lucia said Bjugstad was ready to turn pro.

Schmidt, a free agent, signed a two-year entry-level contract with Washington on Tuesday. Junior center Erik Haula also could depart; his adviser has been in contact with the Wild, which chose him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. The Gophers had only one senior on this season’s roster — defenseman Seth Helgeson — and plan to bring in four forwards from the junior ranks next fall.

“I can’t thank the University of Minnesota enough for three great years,’’ said Bjugstad, who led the Gophers with 21 goals this season. “I loved every minute of my time here.’’

Bjugstad and Budish, with 36 points each, tied for third in team scoring; Haula led with a career-high 51 points, two more than last season. Schmidt was sixth with 31 points. Bjugstad, Budish and Schmidt combined for 44 of the Gophers’ 139 goals.

At 6-6 and 220 pounds, Bjugstad’s size, skating ability and offensive skills made him a top-flight pro prospect. He served as an alternate captain this season and led the nation’s top-ranked power play, scoring 11 goals. Budish, the Gophers’ captain, will graduate this spring after taking a redshirt year to recover from knee surgery in 2010.

Hobey a Minnesotan?

St. Cloud State forward Drew LeBlanc of Hermantown, Minn., and Quinnipiac goalie Eric Hartzell of White Bear Lake are among three finalists for the Hobey Baker Award, given to the top player in Division I college hockey. Both seniors led their teams to their first Frozen Four.

LeBlanc, a two-year captain, leads the nation with 37 assists and has 50 points. Hartzell is 29-6-5 this season and was named ECAC player of the year. He anchors the nation’s top defense (1.63 goals against per game).

Johnny Gaudreau, a sophomore forward from Boston College, is the third finalist. The Hobey Baker Award winner will be announced April 12 during the Frozen Four.

WCHA coaches honored

Bob Motzko of St. Cloud State and Mike Hastings of Minnesota State, Mankato are among seven finalists for the Spencer Penrose Award, given to the top coach in Division I men’s hockey as voted upon by members of the American Hockey Coaches Association.

Motzko, in his eighth season with the Huskies, guided the team to victories over top seed Notre Dame and Miami (Ohio) to win the Midwest Regional last weekend. The Huskies tied the Gophers for a share of their first WCHA regular-season title and are 25-15-4. Hastings was named the WCHA coach of the year in his first season with the Mavericks, leading them to a 24-14-3 record and the second NCAA tournament berth in program history.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Los Angeles - LP: C. Frias 2 FINAL
Colorado - WP: J. De La Rosa 16
San Francisco - WP: S. Romo 4 FINAL
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 2
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 1 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: F. Liriano 9
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Baltimore - WP: B. Norris 6
Washington - LP: R. Detwiler 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: A. Wood 3
Miami - WP: H. Alvarez 4 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 3
NY Yankees - WP: B. McCarthy 3 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: A. Cobb 2
Cincinnati - LP: D. Corcino 1 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 3
Chicago WSox - LP: C. Sale 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 6
Cleveland - WP: C. Carrasco 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: B. Oberholtzer 0
Detroit - LP: D. Price 4 FINAL
Minnesota - WP: K. Gibson 8
Milwaukee - LP: M. Fiers 0 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: A. Wainwright 2
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 0 FINAL
LA Angels - WP: C. Wilson 5
Texas - WP: R. Ross Jr. 6 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Doolittle 1
Philadelphia - WP: C. Hamels 5 FINAL
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 2
Tampa Bay 7:25 PM
Atlanta
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 6:30 PM
(20) Kansas State
Connecticut 9/19/14 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Toronto 9/19/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary

ADVERTISEMENT

Advertisement
Golden Gavel by Star Tribune

Countdown to great deals

Bid Sept. 21-29

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Do you support Wednesday's decision to sideline Adrian Peterson again?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close