Nick Bjugstad will not be a part of the NHL return this summer, as Bjugstad’s unfortunate season came to an end on Tuesday. Pittsburgh Penguins GM Jim Rutherford reported the Penguins big center, who played just 13 games this season due to injuries, suffered a setback and had season-ending surgery.
Bjugstad suffered a sports hernia, recently referred to as a “core injury” early in the season or training camp. He was hobbled early and struggled in his first 10 games with just one point (1g, 0a). He left the lineup during the Penguins Nov. 15 game against the New Jersey Devils.
Despite skating for weeks in January, he did not return and quietly stopped skating for several weeks. In late February, he resumed skating and returned to the Penguins lineup for three games in March.
However, on March 10, the Penguins announced Bjugstad suffered another injury, and his season was possibly over.
The Penguins acquired Nick Bjugstad, 27, with Jared McCann from the Florida Panthers for Riley Sheahan, Derick Brassard, and draft picks in February 2019. Last season, Bjugstad had 14 points (9g, 5a) in 32 games with the Penguins.
The 6-foot-6, 215-pound center was initially placed on the right wing, where he played for his final two seasons in Florida, but was moved back to center as the Penguins need arose and Bjugstad was ineffective on the wing.
UPDATE: Per the Pittsburgh Penguins press release late Wednesday afternoon, the Minnesota native Bjusgstad had spinal surgery at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and will be out eight weeks. From the release:
Pittsburgh Penguins forward Nick Bjugstad underwent successful spinal surgery, it was announced today by general manager and executive vice president Jim Rutherford.
Bjugstad, 27, had spinal surgery on Tuesday for a herniated disc. The surgery was performed by Dr. Bradford Currier of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
The forward is expected to be sidelined for a minimum of eight weeks.