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July 12, 2012 E-MAIL PRINT Bookmark and Share

Bjugstad Announces Return For Junior Year

CHN Staff Report

MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota junior Nick Bjugstad is a rarity in the modern age of college hockey — a high-end player who decided he's returning to school despite the lure of pro hockey.

Bjugstad, who will be entering his junior season, like Justin Schultz last year, announced his decision today.

“This is the right spot for me,” Bjugstad said. “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-foot-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.

Bjugstad, who will turn 20 next Tuesday, was plus-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 percent) and faceoffs (of players who have taken more than 50 faceoffs) with a 57.9 percent success rate.

“We are obviously excited Nick is returning,” said coach Don Lucia. “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. He made great strides his first two years and we are confident he is going to make great strides during his junior year.”

Bjugstad was a first-round selection of the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.

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