Apr 3, 2013, 2:04 PM EDT
One of the most highly-touted prospects in the Florida organization is going pro.
That’s the word out of Sunrise on Wednesday as the Panthers announced they’ve signed Nick Bjugstad to an entry-level deal.
Bjugstad, 20, was Florida’s first-round pick (19th overall) at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
He’s spent the last three seasons with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers — scoring 46 goals over the last two seasons — and represented Team USA at the 2011 and ’12 World Junior Championships, capturing a bronze medal in ’11.
Bjugstad’s name has been a popular one in NHL circles over the last year, despite him playing collegiate hockey.
Last fall, a report surfaced that Florida was reluctant to give up Bjugstad in a potential Roberto Luongo deal, leading many to speculate that Vancouver GM Mike Gillis had requested the 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward in any Luongo-related trade.
It’s possible that Florida will bring Bjugstad straight to the NHL for some seasoning, though they could opt to send him straight to AHL San Antonio.
- Update: Giroux out two weeks with lower-body injury 12
- Update: Crosby on ice with Penguins teammates Friday, leaves early 4
- Ouch: Wild reportedly suspend Harding for ‘non-hockey injury’ 28
- Keeping Kuemper: Wild sign goalie to two-year deal reportedly worth $2.5M 15
- Selanne regrets harsh words toward Boudreau 7
- Flyers’ Timonen admits chances of playing are ‘really slim’ 7
- Desjardins (a.k.a. not Torts) makes good first impression on Canucks 28
- Leafs deny rift between Kessel and coaching staff 20
- Injured Crosby, Malkin will miss start of Pens’ camp 12
- Selanne rips Boudreau in book 18
- Heeeeeere’s Johnny! Davidson shreds Johansen’s agent for ‘baffling, nonsensical’ contract demands (62)
- Chiarelli: At some point, I’m going to have to trade a defenseman (56)
- Jackets reveal Johansen offers — including an eight year, $46M deal (55)
- Will the NHL publicize divers? (48)
- No icing on the PK? The USHL will see how that looks (43)