Come gather ’round people wherever you roam, because ever since Nick LeBjugstad brought his talents to the Sunshine State things have started looking up.
Sure, he stands at roughly 6’8″ by the time he’s laced up and ready for work; but it’s the level of coordination, speed and skill in that big body of his that make Nick Bjugstad one of the most monstrous players to ever put on a Panthers uniform.
Like fellow Florida superstar LeBron James, big players with fast muscle twitch fibers have enormous potential to dominate a sport.
And if you’ve seen Nick Bjugstad recently, you know he’s capable of dominating his opponents.
Any athlete with that rare genetic makeup has been born blessed with the winning lottery ticket already ingrained in their DNA, thus becoming the jackpot prize for teams looking to compete against the greatest athletes in the world. Physically, it’s the best of both worlds.
But to top it off the kids got brains and whole lot of heart.
When Bjugstad was called up at the tail end of the 2012-2013 season, he appeared to be observing more than he was participating, and only racked up 1 point in 11 games and a -8.
For many fans eager to finally watch him play after being acquired in the first round of the 2010 draft, it appeared that perhaps the 19th overall pick would need a bit more time developing in the AHL before he could handle the responsibility that comes with playing for the big boys.
But for Nick LeBjugstad, those 11 games were enough. He evaluated the situation and transformed himself during the off season, and by the time Nick Bjugstad showed up for the rookie tournament in September, his dominating performance made it was clear he wasn’t only observing.
He was calculating.
Fast forward to this present day and the Florida Panthers are once again at the tail end of an unsuccessful season. But instead of averaging 1 point in 11 games, Nick LeBjugstad’s remarkable 31 points in 62 games make him a 1 point per 2 game player on one of the worst teams in the National Hockey League.
And he’s still just a rookie.
It’s all this and more that makes it fitting to put the “Le” in Nick LeBjugstad. Though the Florida Panthers may suck right now, they’re not gonna suck for much longer. Especially not when Nick Bjugstad keeps improving and shooting like a rising star in this league.