Nick Bjugstad announced today that he is returning for his junior season.
"Minnesota is a great school, and I want to complete my degree. That is one of the big things for me. We are also going to have a good team this year and hopefully get another chance at the national championship and make a run there. Those are my main goals, and I want to accomplish those. I feel I can develop here and become more of a leader on the team as well. Hopefully, I will have a good season.
"It was pretty tough. I put a lot of thought into it. There were a lot of pros and cons. I sat down with my family and everyone and I was also able to go to Florida's camp and hear what they had to say. They are a great organization.
"I thought I had a pretty good season last year, but I kind of died down toward the end of the season. I want to have a strong full season. Obviously we did not end well with our last game and that kind of sits in the back of your head. It is important to me to hopefully make it back there and do better than we did.
"We have a great team coming back. That played a big part in it, looking at who my teammates are. I love my teammates and it is a lot of fun playing with them. I cannot say enough about the incoming freshman either. They look like they are going to be real good as well. We will have a strong team and hopefully we can put a good year together.
"I always grew up wanting to be a Gopher. I watched those national championships back-to-back and that made me want to be like those guys. I feel like we maybe have an opportunity to do that next year. That definitely played a big part of it.
"My family was telling me to go with my gut for a while, but I really did not have a gut feeling because it was such a hard decision. My mind was going in every direction. In the end I think it was kind of a gut feeling. This is the right spot for me. I am going to be close to finishing my education and hopefully can accomplish the goal that I have wanted ever since I was little, which is winning a national championship.
"Playing Wisconsin outside at Soldier Field is going to be amazing. I played an outdoor game when I was in high school, but I am sure this will be a lot bigger stage and really exciting."
"We are obviously excited Nick is returning. I think Nick felt that he had a little bit more room to grow as a person and as a player. The great thing is that at the end of his junior year is that he will be very close to graduating college. He can be a leader on our team and he feels he can continue to get better in our program. He made great strides his first two years and we are confident he is going to make great strides during his junior year.
"I think it says a lot about what he thinks about our program. He has confidence in that he will continue to improve. He has confidence in that we can have an outstanding season next year. Most importantly, I think he enjoys being a college student and enjoys being part of everything that this program stands for and is about. I think that is the biggest reason he decided to return. He is still young and we are looking to having him on our team next year.
"We are excited about the group we have returning. We had a great year last year winning the MacNaughton Cup and advancing to the Frozen Four. With the nucleus we have returning and our incoming freshman we will obviously have high goals and high expectations, but we would not want it any other way."