They traded down, but they're still getting a pretty solid player. The Florida Panthers took the first high school player to go in this draft, selecting Nick Bjugstad out of Blaine High School in Minnesota. He was selected at 14th, the Panthers by our St. Louis bloggers at St. Louis Game Time in our mock draft.
Game Time's choice, however, is Minnesota’s 2010 "Mr. Hockey," Nick Bjugstad. He’s big at 6’4, 187, and at only 17 years old, probably still has growing and filling out to do. The scouting report on him is that he’s a good skater with an excellent shot, decent faceoff skills, and leadership qualities. Personality-wise, he’s driven; he accelerated his high school coursework so as to graduate early this year at attend the U. of Minnesota in the fall, which tells us he’ll work like a fiend to accomplish a goal.
The Blues like to take Americans in the first round, and drafting a guy who’s going to college gives them four years to keep him on the reserve list without having to sign him, instead of the two years they get for a junior player. For a cash-strapped organization, that’s a plus, and it’s a route the Blues have taken many, many times in the past.
A big, skilled, intense forward who is a born leader… exactly what this organization needs right now.
Check out Litter Box Cats, our Panthers blog, for more.