Former Gophers, Blaine standout Nick Bjugstad acquired by Wild

Jim Rutherford’s remake of the Penguins starts with trading away Nick Bjugstad

Jim Rutherford’s remake of the Penguins starts with trading away Nick Bjugstad

The Minnesota Wild acquired Blaine native Nick Bjugstad in a trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday night.

Bjugstad, 28, managed only one goal and one assist in 13 games this season. Most of his absence was due to a core muscle injury that required surgery. He returned to play three games before the National Hockey League was shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

This latest season ended with Bjugstad undergoing surgery on his ailing back, but the forward has since been deemed healthy.

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For his career, he has 97 goals in 439 games and is entering the final season of a six-year, $24.6 million contract.

The Panthers made Bjugstad a first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2010 NHL Draft, and he played 6 1/2 seasons in Florida before joining Pittsburgh in a February 1, 2019 trade. The Penguins brought in Kasperi Kapanen from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for their first-round selection this offseason in the first major trade of what figures to be a feverish few months leading up to next season.

The Wild needs centers, with captain Mikko Koivu likely to retire after his contract expired.

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