Tie it all together. Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan has urged his team to play to a new identity, to eschew the free skate antics and play hard below the hash marks. Sullivan believes the Penguins are one of the best teams in the league when the play down low. Friday afternoon, Penguins GM Jim Rutherford delivered a hulking centerman who should fit the bill. After a couple years of inquiries over more than a year, the Penguins landed Nick Bjugstad.
Bjugstad, 26, is 6-foot-6 and 218 pounds. He isn’t a thundering center. He has only 44 hits in 32 games but he plays large. Bjugstad had a career year last season when he scored 49 points (19g, 30a) in 82 games. Bjugstad’s career-best goal total was 2014-15 when he potted 24.
The Penguins called about Bjugstad last summer but the price was well beyond their range. Back then, our sources said the Penguins “loved” Bjugstad but Florida was not keen to deal him and talks went nowhere, fast.