MINNEAPOLIS One day after losing its top defenseman to the NHL, the Gophers lost their top goal scorer.
Junior Nick Bjugstad signed an entry-level contract with the Florida Panthers on Wednesday, becoming the second University of Minnesota player to leave school early in as many days. Defenseman Nate Schmidt signed with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.
Bjugstad, a junior from Blaine, led the Gophers with 21 goals this season. He also had 15 assists and was third on the team in scoring with 36 points. As a sophomore, Bjugstad was named to the All-WCHA First Team after scoring 25 goals for Minnesota. He was a first-round pick (19th overall) by Florida in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
There is still a chance Gophers forwards Erik Haula and Zach Budish could join Bjugstad and Schmidt and leave early. Haula was a draft pick of the Minnesota While, while Budish was drafted by the Nashville Predators. Budish reportedly signed a deal Wednesday with the Predators, but it has not yet been ...