Bjugstad bolsters U hockey prospects

  • Article by: ROMAN AUGUSTOVIZ , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 13, 2012 - 6:49 AM

The Gophers' top goal-scorer from last season will delay his shot at the NHL to return to school for his junior season.

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hockeybiasJul. 12, 1210:06 PM

It will be interesting to see how that whole first line improves over the off-season!

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april24Jul. 12, 1210:36 PM

Great decision Nick! Although the level of play might be a little higher in the AHL, being the leader of a national contender will provide an experience he could never get anywhere else. To come in and play great and win a title will do wonders for his confidence. He's obviously got the skills to be a pro but having the confidence will make the difference. He made the right call to do just that.

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lars471Jul. 13, 12 1:09 AM

Buckle up MI St. & WCHA foes too, it's gonna be a fun year & can't wait for both the Wild & Gophs to get started (not wishing our summer away - but can't wait).

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KJul. 13, 12 8:23 AM

Well done Nick! Here's to a great season!

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lynxstarJul. 13, 12 9:04 AM

Another year of stunted development as far as i can tell. Been a Gopher fan my whole life but i just don't understand how these kids don't see the light with the current regime.. Not many former Gopher's from "The Don/Guentzel/Potulny" era making a difference in the NHL. That's why most of the Real good/smart MN hockey player's go elsewhere.. Mr Bjugstad's development,at best stayed even with his previuos year. IMO there was little or no improvement to his game. Florida cannot be happy with this choice..

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chucker81Jul. 13, 12 9:24 AM

Blah, blah, blah, "i've been a gopher fan all my life" blah blah. Sweetie, Nick score 25 goals last year vs. 8 as a freshman. He'll net 40 this year including double hat tricks against whoever you are really cheering for.

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ericgus55Jul. 13, 12 9:40 AM

lynxstar--Are you not familiar with the Gophers in the NHL? Kessel, Vanek, Wheeler, Johnson, Okposo, Martin, Leopold, Leddy, Bickel, Goligoski, and on and on. This Gophers coaching staff has helped get more kids to a higher level in the NHL, won two NCAA championships, a couple more Frozen Four appearances, and competed nearly every year for WCHA titles against great competition (other WCHA teams have been winning NCAA titles, too). Looking back at past Gophers coaches and eras, this one stacks up favorably with any of them, while still using nearly all Minnesota kids. I know it's popular to criticize the Lucia era, but why?

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puckluck77Jul. 13, 12 9:44 AM

Gophers making a difference?? Like Paul Martin, Tomas Vanek, Phil Kessel, Blake Wheeler, Alex Goligoski, Erik Johnson, Kyle Okposo, Jim Obrien, Stu Bickel, Nick Leddy. These guys were making a difference on their NHL teams last year. helping a player improve their game is what coaching is all about... As far as getting ready for the next level... any rink, anywhere, anytime. Jordan Tootoo got ready, on a home made rink in the arctic circle... small town kids dont worry, the scouts will find you!

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lynxstarJul. 13, 1211:29 AM

Puckluck-Chucker-Eric..Really?.You guys think "The Don" & Company developed P.Kessel-E.Johnson-J.O'Brien-N.Leddy & S.Bickle?.. All 5 played a whopping 1 year at the U, each.. Okposo & Vanek a whopping 2 year's a piece and both those players actually regressed in point's their 2nd year's at the U.. I'll give you Gologoski & Martin.. In Leddy's case..Very good on the offensive side, But terrible on the Defensive side, that's why GMCF traded him. The last thing The Wild needed at that time was another D-Man that can't play in his own end.. Without question the best MN born players in recent past (10 year's or so) have chosen Other programs besides the U of M.. Because those other programs Develop NHLer's That's fact my friend's..

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ericgus55Jul. 13, 1211:53 AM

lnyxstar-- In no college sports do the best players stay four years. During their stay at the U, those players all improved to the point where NHL teams felt they were ready to play, so yes, the Gophers staff did help those players develop. What I think this is about is "realistic expectations." Don Lucia has been the coach for thirteen years. In that time, the Gophers have won two National Championships, appeared in the Frozen Four a couple more times, won WCHA Championships, and sent players to the NHL. He's done this while competing in the toughest conference in college hockey (seven national championships from five different WCHA schools, including ours, since he took over). Sure, I wish the Gophers won more and sent more players to the NHL, but that will always be the case no matter what we do. The Lucia era stacks up well with any other Gophers era and with any other school in the nation.

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