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GOING BACK TO MINNY: Nick Bjugstad Spurns Panthers for Junior Year with Gophers ... Dale Tallon Readies for Arbitration with Kris Versteeg

Bjug3BY GEORGE RICHARDS grichards@MiamiHerald.com

TWITTER: @GeorgeRichards

Center Nick Bjugstad announced Thursday that he will return to the University of Minnesota for his junior year and not sign with the Panthers.

GM Dale Tallon had said the 6-6 Bjugstad would have competed for a spot on the Panthers roster had he turned pro.

Tallon added that the team didn't put any pressure on their 2010 first round draft pick and are fine with the decision he made.

Bjugstad helped the Gophers to the Frozen Four last year and his return makes them a heavy favorite to make the trip to Pittsburgh this season.

"This is the right spot for me," Bjugstad said in a statement released by the school.

“I am going to be close to finishing my education and Goldiegopherhopefully can accomplish the goal that I have had ever since I was little, which is winning a national championship.''

Said Minnesota coach Don Lucia: “We are obviously excited Nick is returning. I think Nick felt that he had a little bit more room to grow as a person and as a player. The great thing is that at the end of his junior year is that he will be very close to graduating college. He can be a leader on our team and he feels he can continue to get better in our program.''

() Tallon said there has been no progress in contract talks with winger Kris Versteeg who elected to take the team to arbitration later this month. Florida had hoped to sign Versteeg to a long-term deal this offseason.

While that could still happen before the scheduled hearing, it doesn't sound like it will.

"The ball is in their court,'' Tallon said.  

At the very least, Vertseeg will get a one-year deal at a price determined by the arbiter; the two could continue talks about an extension after that.

Versteeg can be a free agent following next season.

() The Panthers signed goalie Michael Houser and defenseman Josh McFadden to entry level deals. The two are expected to be at training camp but start the season in the minors.

Houser, named most outstanding player in the Ontario Hockey League last season, is expected to start at ECHL Cincinnati; McFadden will likely start at AHL San Antonio.





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There can be no positives with this Versteeg situation, and there also has to be something going on with the Markstrom situation as well. If Tallon somehow acquires Luongo, watch Markstrom get traded for a major scorer. Something I honestly may NOT be oppoesed to. Something is up though.

I truly don't think an umproven, minor league goalie is going to get you a major scorer. Just cause we are led to believe that he is the next coming of Martin Brodeur means that he is. I do agree that Versteeg is playing hardball.

I think they realize that Markstrom is not going to be the next Brodeur and their actions reflect this.He has not developed enough to play in the NHL (if he ever does)This is a typical example of Yormark hype.We are still running a dollar store budget reflected in the current signings.

LOB, most would bend over backwards for Markstrom AKA (the worlds best goaltender NOT in the NHL) it's what others say, not me. Actually, not only is Versteeg playing hardball, but so IS Markstrom who will be able to create a bidding war for his services very soon. Like I said, this is the calm before the storm..something surprising is going to go down very soon.

The only thing I can say--Who are these people who say he is the best goalie not in the NHL?? I'd be interested in seeing their quotes. Please post who they are!! If he appears to be that good --why is Tallon considering bringing back Luongo? I am not saying Markstrom is a bum, but, where has anyone seen that he is ready to come to the Panthers and be a difference maker. I only see the former Panther management who fed to the press that this guy was great. He was a 2nd round pick for crying out loud.


Here is an interesting read. Remember, now it is Markstrom doing the pushing. He is balking at returning to San Antonio. Tallon isn't rushing HIM. Wanna see quotes on WHO'D love to have him?? Come on now,if you follow the game at all, you know he's the blue chipper. It takes longer for a goalie to mature. You sound like a Luongo sympathizer which is fine. My initial point was this: Could Jacob Markstrom in trade bring a major scorer, and my answer is yes. Am I saying Malkim is coming,NO! But I do think he could swapped for a solid 25 a year scorer. Whether I say or you say Markstrom is a stud or a dud, he IS coveted by the other teams. I have faith in knowing WE have the guy who'd get the most for him in a trade. Dale isn't going to get his pocket picked.

Nick Bjudstad will never play for the Panthers. he will go into the reentry draft and will be claimed by the Minnesota Wild. He doesn't want to play for the Panthers.

John Slusher- can you post a link that says that?

John Slusher- can you post a link that says that?

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