USA Hockey Pegs Bjugstad for National Team Roster

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USA Hockey announced the first 15 players of the 2013 U.S Men's National Team on Thursday including former Gophers forward and current center for the Florida Panthers Nick Bjugstad. 

The U.S. National Team will compete at the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) Men's World Championship May 3-19 in Helsinki, Finland and Stockholm, Sweden. NBC Sports Network will air all Team USA games at the tournament with a full broadcast schedule coming out next week. 

Florida's first-round pick (19th overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Bjugstad signed with the Panthers following the 2012-13 college season and has played in nine professional contests with the NHL organization. 

No Gopher tallied more goals over the last three seasons than Bjugstad with 54 while the junior tallied 98 total points in 109 career games. In Bjugstad's final two seasons with the program, the Gophers earned two-straight MacNaughton cups as Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) regular-season champions and two NCAA tournament berths including the team's run to the Frozen Four in 2011-12.

After a 20-point freshman campaign in 2010-11, Bjugstad skated to his best season with the Gophers in 2011-12, earning Second Team All-America and All-WCHA First Team honors. The Blaine, Minn., native posted a career-high 42 points, 25 goals and 17 assists as a sophomore while the Gophers captured the team's first MacNaughton Cup since 2006-07 and returned to the NCAA Frozen Four for the 20th time in program history and the first time since 2005. 

Bjugstad returned to the Gophers as a junior in 2012-13 and served as an alternate captain for the squad while also earning All-WCHA Third Team accolades. The junior led Minnesota and finished tied for eighth in the nation with 21 goals and recorded 36 points in his final season with the Maroon and Gold. Eleven of his goals came on the power play - ranking Bjugstad third in the nation - while Minnesota was the nation's best team on the advantage this season. The Gophers, who added a second-straight MacNaughton Cup in 2012-13, also led the nation in scoring offense during Bjugstad's final two seasons with the program.   

Bjugstad has previous experience with USA Hockey, skating with the U.S. National Junior Team in 2011-12. 

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