Originally written on Goon's World  |  Last updated 11/19/14
The Minnesota Gophers got some good news yesterday when they learned that their power forward Nick Bjugstad will be returning for his junior season. With the return of Bjugstad the Gophers are going to have the target on their back.

Bjugstad is one of the better forwards in the WCHA and could’ve signed a professional contract this summer if he wanted to. Listening to the P.A. show on KFAN 100.3 back at the end of June, the host Paul Allen had Michael Russo of the Star and Tribune on with him and Russo said that if Bjugstad did sign an entry level deal, he would probably start the season in the AHL based on who the Panthers had on their roster. Bjugstad staying in college doesn't hurt his development and the Gophers don't to rush another forward in to take his place.
Gopher Sports --- Minnesota junior Nick Bjugstad announced today that he is returning to the Golden Gopher hockey team for the 2012-13 season.

"This is the right spot for me," said Bjugstad. "I am going to be close to finishing my education and hopefully can accomplish the goal that I have had ever since I was little, which is winning a national championship. We are going to have a good team this year and hopefully get another chance at the national championship and make a run there. I feel I can develop here and become more of a leader on the team as well. Hopefully, I will have a good season."

The 6’5”, 211-pound center from Blaine, Minn., was named All-WCHA First Team and Second-Team All-American after recording 42 points in 40 games as a sophomore. He led Minnesota with 25 goals (tied for fifth in the nation) and also added 17 assists as he finished third on the team in points. His 25 goals were the most scored by a Gopher since Ryan Potulny had 38 in 2005-06. Minnesota was 20-6-1 when he had a point last season.

Bjugstad, who will turn 20 next Tuesday, recorded 21 of his points (9g-12a) in 16 road games and he had a point in 13 of 16 games away from Mariucci Arena. He was +21 on the season and tied for second on the team in power-play goals (8). He also led the team in shooting percentage (17.2%) and faceoffs (of players who have taken more than 50 faceoffs) with a 57.9% success rate.
Based on what has happened recently in College hockey Nick Bjugstad returning is a win for college hockey – getting to see a highly talented blue chip players stay more than two seasons is exciting for the fans – in the past highly talented first round draft choices rarely if ever stay more than two seasons.


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