Given that the 28-year-old forward is coming off a six-year, $24.6MM contract, getting him signed for just $900K seems like a huge win for the Wild. Even if he has struggled to produce the kind of numbers he put up early in his career with the Florida Panthers, he is still a reasonably effective option that has experience at both center and wing. In 44 games this season with Minnesota, he scored six goals and 17 points, adding in one goal in six playoff matches.
That’s a pretty nice value for the Wild, especially since it carries basically no risk as a one-year deal. The entire cap hit could be buried in the minor leagues if necessary, but that seems unlikely given his history in the NHL. As a 22-year-old for the Panthers, the 6’6″ center scored 24 goals, leading to the big extension. A few years later he was moved to Pittsburgh, before eventually coming to Minnesota last fall for, well, nothing. Bjugstad was traded for a conditional seventh-round pick that the Penguins did not receive because he did not meet the conditions.
Now, on such a low-cost deal, Bjugstad can fill a bottom-six role for Minnesota without the pressure or expectations that come with such an expensive contract. Perhaps that leads him to his past success, but at worst, it’ll just cost the Wild a few hundred thousand wasted dollars.