According to George Richards of the Miami Herald, Florida Panthers centerman Nick Bjugstad has broken his hand and will be out at least four weeks. With the season beginning in less than a week, the young Panther will miss at least a few games with the injury.
Bjugstad, 24, is one of the core of young forwards the Panthers have locked up over the past two years, joining Aleksander Barkov, Vincent Trocheck, Jonathan Huberdeau and Reilly Smith in signing at least through the 2020-21 season. These five, when joined by the likes of Aaron Ekblad, Keith Yandle and Jason Demers on the back end, will be the foundation on which the Panthers operate for the future.
After three solid seasons with Florida, Bjugstad is looking to take the next step and move from the 30-40 point two-way center to a legitimate offensive force capable of scoring 25 goals and 50 points each year. While this injury is a setback, he’ll likely only miss around 10 games and should be able to contribute after that.
The Panthers made a few cuts this morning and are now down to 26 (not including Bjugstad) in camp. The team can only take 23 with them when the season begins, meaning there are still a few tough decisions to be made.