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.
In some ways, it really felt like their first-round series.
For all the talent on both ends of the rink with the Detroit Red Wings and Tampa Bay Lightning, each squad can really smother opponents defensively when things go that way.
Through two periods, the two teams were very quiet. Things really picked up when Justin Abdelkader unleashed a big hit, a moment that injected enough life into the proceedings for the Red Wings to eventually build a 3-1 win.
Maybe they’re slipping under the radar a bit compared to previous iterations of the team, but it’s interesting that the Red Wings are now undefeated in three games.
They’ve been impressive at times, too, outscoring opponents by a combined score of 11-4.
Call it a refreshing time after Mike Babcock or merely carryover from a subtly solid run last season, but either way, the Red Wings may just be able to keep up their end of a brewing rivalry.
Taking three games to score your first NHL goal isn’t a big deal, unless you’re someone like Connor McDavid.
The mega-hyped wunderkind must feel relieved to finally find the net, as he tied tonight’s Edmonton Oilers – Dallas Stars skirmish with a 2-2 deflection goal, which you can watch above this post’s headline.
To no surprise, there were plenty of reactions, including Pierre LeBrun’s tweet (which inspired part of this headline).
Of course, there were the inevitable Wayne Gretzky comparisons:
Interesting thing you might not consider: Stars fans will have to stomach this one even more frequently than that time Patrik Stefan biffed that empty-netter (also against the Oilers):
McDavid may have also delivered his first questionable check, too: