Best College Athlete Minneapolis 2012 - Nick Bjugstad
After four consecutive seasons of often substandard Minnesota stick work, the 91st year of Golden Gopher hockey found the maroon and gold back where they belong among the forefront of national powers. Aside from the stellar goaltending of Kent Patterson, the rebirth can be largely attributed to Blaine High grad and 2010 Minnesota's Mr. Hockey, Nick Bjugstad. Taken with the No. 19 overall selection by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 Entry Draft, the 6-foot-5 forward puts up numbers that speak to a bright pro future after a freshman campaign in which he earned Gopher "Rookie of the Year" honors. In 34 regular-season games in his sophomore season, Bjugstad recorded a team-leading 23 goals, which charted as the third most (tied) in the country, and tallied 1.12 points per game, good for a top-25 rank in the nation. Bjugstad also shared the Gopher team lead with seven power play goals and 38 total points as Minnesota captured their first WCHA crown since 2006-07 and concluded their regular season as the No. 4 team in NCAA D-I hockey.