Not a whole lot has gone well for the Florida Panthers this season, but getting a sneak preview of franchise players Jonathan Huberdeau and Jacob Markstrom must make the future seem brighter. Fans will have a chance to observe another hyped prospect in Nick Bjugstad, as he expects to debut on Saturday, according to NHL.com.
Bjugstad, 20, just saw his college career end about a week ago as Yale beat his University of Minnesota team in the NCAA tournament. Now he’s preparing to face the Washington Capitals tomorrow.
“It’s pretty wild,” Bjugstad said after practice. “A couple of years ago I never would have expected to be here. On draft day, I didn’t know how long it was going to take or what it was going to take. I’m very fortunate to be here. A lot of people helped me get here. I’m very happy.”
The 19th pick of the 2011 NHL Draft provides yet another reason why people are excited about a farm system that’s regularly been named the best in the league. GM Dale Tallon clearly seems eager to see things take shape.
“This guy is 6-6, 218, 220 pounds and he’s only 20 years old,” Tallon said. “Once he fills out and becomes a man, once [Erik] Gudbranson fills out and becomes a man, and [Quinton] Howden does the same thing, we’re going to have some size and some speed and some skill.”
And most importantly, they’ll give fans some hope.
Ken Appleby never got drafted, but his efforts during the New Jersey Devils’ training camp have earned him an entry-level contract, per the Bergen Record.
Although no team saw it fit to take him before the preseason, the 20-year-old is coming off of a very strong season. He had a 2.08 GAA and .924 save percentage in 50 games with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals. He went on to lead them to a Memorial Cup championship and earned the the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the tournament’s top goalie.
Appleby is the fifth goaltender the Devils have under contract after Cory Schneider, Keith Kinkaid, Scott Wedgewood, and Yann Danis. He’ll likely begin the season in the ECHL.
Alexandre Goulet and Jacob Sweeney also participated in the Devils’ training camp on an amateur tryout basis, but both of them have been released.
PHT’s Morning Skate takes a look around the world of hockey to see what’s happening and what we’ll be talking about around the NHL world and beyond.
Some of the NHL’s top players discuss Connor McDavid‘s potential and the hype surrounding him. (Toronto Sun)
While we’re on the subject, Wayne Gretzky recalls what it was like for him going into the NHL and what’s in store for McDavid. (Edmonton Sun)
Sam Gagner is about to start a key season in his career. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
It’s time for the Washington Capitals to make some tough calls, particularly when it comes to Derek Roy. (CSN Mid-Atlantic)
With Raffi Torres hearing scheduled for today, here’s a look back at his suspension history. (San Jose Mercury News)
The Chicago Blackhawks have gotten their championship rings. (NHL.com)