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UPDATED: Minnesota's Mr. Hockey Headed South? Florida Panthers Could Land Nick Bjugstad After Gophers Loss


BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @OnFrozenPond

FACEBOOK: On Frozen Pond

The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported Minnesota sophomore Nick Bjugstad will be offered a three-year entry level contract by the Panthers.

Bjugstad, a past Minnesota prep Mr. Hockey winner, is expected to forgo his final two seasons with the Gophers and sign with Florida.

Panthers assistant general manager Mike Santos said no contract has been offered -- and won't be until Bjugstad comes to the Panthers. Which he hasn't. Santos said "we're not going to put any pressure on him.''

Florida drafted the 6-4 center with the 19th pick of the first round in 2010.

The Gophers were beaten 6-1 by Boston College in a Frozen Four semifinal Thursday in Tampa.

“He has to come to us and that hasn't happened yet,'' Santos said. "He's an NCAA player and we're not going to do anything to jeopardize his eligibility. We can't offer him a contract until he comes to me. He hasn't contacted us. College players don't have agents, they have advisers. He would contact me. And then we would open negotiations.

"He's a student-athlete at the University of Minnesota. He made a commitment to them. We're not going to jeopardize that. The decision is up to him and his family. I think he's a tremendous player. But we're not going to mess with what our college players have going. Drew Shore came to us, we negotiated a deal.''

If he does sign, he would be available to the Rampage for its final games and potential postseason on an amatuer try out. Bjugstad would be able to partake in all Panthers offseason workouts and an invite to training camp.

If Bjugstad decides to stay at Minnesota, he can only participate in the summer camp in Florida per NCAA rules. 

Here's a quick story I wrote on Bjugstad when the Panthers made him the 19th overall pick in Los Angeles that crazy day in 2010.

And here's OnFrozenFilm of Bjugstad from the Panthers rookie camp this past summer in Coral Springs: