On Thursday we took a look at Nick Bjugstad‘s upcoming 2013-14 season. The crux of the preview became the following question: will Bjugstad make the Panthers? Today we will take a closer look at that question. First, we want to hear what you think. The below poll is simple, will Bjugstad be on the Panthers roster when they start their season against the Dallas Stars on October 3rd?
You can read an in-depth breakdown of the question in Bjugstad’s Offseason Outlook, for now I will just provide a brief recap and some extra thoughts.
The question as to whether or not Bjugstad will make the Panthers comes down to numbers. The 21 year old center will be competing with five others for the team’s four center spots. The competition? Shawn Matthias, Marcel Goc, Aleksander Barkov, Drew Shore and Scott Gomez. You can make a case for all six forwards but unfortunately only four will get the nod at center. Will some players be moved to wing? and if so which players?
Matthias, Goc and Barkov should be locks to make the team (although Matthias could be one of candidates to move to wing). That leaves Bjugstad, Shore and Gomez? Would the Panthers move Shore to a wing? What about Bjugstad? Would Florida keep Gomez off the roster in favor of one of their younger centers? These are the questions that will be answered when the Panthers training camp begins on September 12th. Until then, all we can do is speculate.
Personally, I think Bjugstad would benefit from spending some time in the AHL playing for the Panther’s farm team, the San Antonio Rampage. With San Antonio, he would get a chance to hone his craft in a low pressure situation. When one of the Panthers centers gets injured (as they inevitably will) Bjugstad would be the first player called upon.