The Hockey Spy’s 2010 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile – Nick Bjugstad

Christopher Ralph is a sportswriter with a focus on hockey prospects, the entry draft, as well as occasional Flames coverage here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below in my “Live Updated” NHL 2010 Draft Preview article.

Nick Bjugstad (Click on name for up- to- date stats)

Nick Bjugstad {Photo: Badgersioux @Flickr}

Date of birth: July 17, 1992
Place of birth: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Ht: 6-3.75 Wt: 188
Shoots: R

Position – C
2009-10 Team: Blaine (Minn. HS)

NHL Status: Draft Eligible 2010


Bjugstad is an amazing blend of size, hockey sense, skill, shot and skating ability. Why then is the winner of Minnesota’s Mr. Hockey award not a surefire top 10 pick on June 25th? It is simply for the fact of that he played this past season at the Minnesota high school level, making it difficult to gauge and project how the young gun with very good bloodlines (read on) will do against better competition For this reason, he still a bit of a project, but he definitely has an attractive skillset. Nick is headed to Minnesota next season in the NCAA and thus has time to develop there.

Scout’s Honor:

“He’s further along and more polished than (Boston’s Blake) Wheeler. He’s also a better skater than David Backes was at the same age (17). The only difference is Backes was thicker, but the ingredients are there. He wants the puck and wants to make plays. He’s a blue-collar type kid who works his tail off.”
Jack Barzee, NHL Central Scouting

“He has all the tools to look like an NHL star, but there were games against very weak opposition where he needed to rise to the occasion and failed to do so. He should have been a kid of a candy shop in some of those games.”
– A scout in THN Draft Guide 2010

“This kid is the real deal. He makes plays almost every time he touches the puck. His size and the skill with which he uses his size, makes him a player for the next level. He was able to create time and space for himself all over the offensive zone.”
– Craig Larson, International Scouting Services

“Off the charts puck skills. Has a sniper’s mentality with a heavy shot and a high degree of accuracy. Has tremendous hockey sense in all three zones and makes intelligent decisions both with and without the puck.”
– Red Line Report 2010 Draft Guide
“Nick is a top level player who will become an outstanding professional some day. His greatest strengths are his shot, his vision and his unbelievable humbleness. He is an even better person, than he is a hockey player. He will be a popular player to fans and a great pro.”

– Blaine head coach Dave Aus

Current Season:

2009-10: Bjustad won the Mr. Hockey Award as the most outstanding high school senior in the state of Minnesota after notching 29 goals and 31 assists in 25 games with Blaine High School. He also managed 9 points (5 G, 4 A) in 5 postseason games.

Scouting Combine Performance (Day 1): Bjugstad gets my vote for best all around performance at the scouting combine. He was simply amazing at almost any station he was challenged with.

  • 2nd in Anaerobic Fitness: Mean Power Output (watts/kg)
  • Tied for 4th in Aerobic Fitness: Test Duration
  • 5th in Anthropemetry: Sum of 6 Skinfolds (mm)
  • 5th in Anthropemetry: % Body Fat
  • Tied for 6th in Musculoskeletal: Standing Long Jump (in)
  • 6th in Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Pwr Average (Lewis)/No Pause (watts)
  • 5th in Musculoskeletal: Vertek Leg Pwr Peak (Sayers)/No Pause (watts)
  • 2nd in Musculoskeletal: 4 Jump (Mat) Mode: Avg Jump Height (in)
  • 3rd in Musculoskeletal: Left Hand Grip (lb)
  • 2nd in Musculoskeletal: Bench Press (# of 150 lb reps)
  • 2nd in Musculoskeletal: Bench Press (lb/lb body weight)
  • · Tied for 10th in Musculoskeletal: Push-Ups (max #)

International Tournaments:

  • He played for the USA Under-18 team at the 2009 Four Nations Cup in Finland.

ETA = 4 yrs

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 2.5/5   Reward = 4.25/5

NHL Potential: 2nd line offensive power forward


  • Outstanding size and frame
  • Great shot
  • High-end hockey “vision”
  • Very good skater and moves well for his size
  • Great character – very humble individual
  • Work ethic

Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:

  • Continue to train to increase strength and mass and thus be able to add physical element to his game and be more of a threat in front of the net.
  • Skating – a good skater for his size; simply needs to work on foot speed.
  • Prove himself against tougher competition.

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 8.5/10   Defensive = 7/10

NHL Player(s) Comparison:

At his best: Joe Thornton, David Backes

Video(s): N/A

Interesting Notes:  (

  • He has accelerated his academics, and took some courses this year at Anoka-Ramsey Community College, in order to play for the University of Minnesota in the fall of 2010 – one year ahead of schedule.
  • His uncle, Scott Bjugstad, played nine NHL seasons spanning 317 games between 1983-84 and 1991-92 with the Minnesota North Stars, Pittsburgh Penguins and Los Angeles Kings. His father and uncle played at the University of Minnesota.

Other Rankings:

CSB: 13-NA

ISS: 21

TSN: 14 {Bob MacKenzie – Mid-term Rankings}

McKeens: 33

THN: 9

THW:  25 (June  ’10) {Christopher Ralph }

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