Following a career year for the Florida Panthers last season, forward Nick Bjugstad will continue to improve his game for the upcoming year.
Nick Bjugstad proved to Florida Panther fans what kind of player he was last season, and this season is the perfect year for him to build on. He was a key part of the Florida Panthers’ success late last season, and he will certainly be a great part of it all this year.
The Minnesota native recorded 19 goals and 49 points in 2017-18, adding a +/- of +5 and all around having a memorable year, one of the best of his career. He was just one goal shy from a crucial milestone in a player’s career, the 20-goal season.
This year looks to be the season that he takes the next strive, as he could very well have a shot at spending the entire year with two linemates he seems very comfortable with: Aleksander Barkov and Evgeni Dadonov.
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Barkov is widely considered to be one of the best players in the league, so anyone who can develop chemistry with a guy of that caliber is doing something right. Barkov is a player who can put up over point-per-game numbers if he remains healthy this year, which Nick Bjugstad could be a beneficiary of.
Another thing that helped spark the development of Nick Bjugstad was moving him over to the wing. He was looking like a dud when he was glued as the Panthers’ third line center behind Aleksander Barkov and Vincent Trocheck. His move over to the wing opened up a lot more to his game and Panther fans were starting to see it.
Bjugstad has also developed a two-way style of play throughout his career, being effective on both sides of the ice. Big Nick also uses his towering 6’6″ frame to body opposing players off the puck, as well as to get in the dirty areas to score.
If Nick continues to use his tools to his advantage this year, he could seriously become the Florida Panthers’ secret weapon, hidden behind dominant forces like Barkov, Trocheck, and Huberdeau.
Don’t be surprised if Bjugstad finishes as one of the Panthers’ best offensive players, as well as take part in additional roles like serving on the penalty kill. Nick is a dependable player who can keep the puck away from danger and score at the same time. That’s what makes him a threat to the opposition.
Nick Bjugstad will be a name teams around the league will have to remember by the end of the season, and while it may be pushing lofty expectations on the 26-year-old winger, you can personally quote me on those words. Because I truly believe that Bjugstad will progress this season.