The Pittsburgh Penguins have announced that skater Nick Bjugstad will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 season. A format has been announced for teams returning to the ice but Bjugstad will not be part of that. Bjugstand will spend this time recovering from surgery. Jim Rutherford announced the absence early Wednesday morning.
Jim Rutherford said Nick Bjugstad will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing an undisclosed surgery yesterday.
— Seth Rorabaugh (@SethRorabaugh) May 27, 2020
Nick Bjugstad to Miss Remainder of Season
Bjugstad hasn’t played most of 2019-20 due to injury. The 27-year-old has just one goal and two points in 13 NHL games this year. Bjugstad has not played since injuring himself against the Buffalo Sabres back on March 5th. He was averaging a career-worst 12:14 of ice time per game. He did contribute 19 hits and seven blocks but he could have done more if health didn’t get in the way. Bjugstad is not alone, however, as the Penguins have suffered several injuries this year.
The Florida Panthers originally selected Bjugstad in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft. He has a total of 87 goals and 191 points in 394 games. His best season came in 2017-18 when he played a full 82 game season with 19 goals and 49 points. Bjugstand is much more a physical bottom-six presence with hits and blocks but he can score a reasonable amount if given enough ice time. A full offseason of recovery will hopefully help Bjugstad stay on the ice in 2020-21.
What This Means for the Future
Bjugstad needs a good recovery and strong season next year if he wants to stay in Pittsburgh. This is not the season he wanted and he will be a free agent after 2020-21. He will be almost 29-years old with a recent cap hit over $4 million. That could be difficult for the Penguins to absorb after the hit to league profits this year.
Pittsburgh will march into the mysterious postseason format without one of its veteran enforcers. Bjugstad hadn’t played much this season so it doesn’t affect the depth chart. The team will still miss his experience. Teams haven’t played in so long that it’s hard to know who will take Bjugstad’s place. Fans should expect more news about previously injured players as operations start to resume.
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