Sources tell Seattle Hockey Insider that the Seattle Kraken have an interest in big Arizona Coyotes center Nick Bjugstad, a concept that makes perfect sense.
The 30-year-old Minnesotan would bring a physical presence, excellent skating ability for his size, and depth to the center position, never a bad thing.
The Seattle Kraken aren’t very big up front, relying on a tenacious forecheck and relentless puck pursuit. Bjugstad, 6-foot-6 and 210-pounds, would bring a big body to that equation and provide an experienced 4th-line option for a team seemingly headed to the playoffs.
The right-handed pivot is in his 10th full NHL season, finishing out a very team-friendly, one-year contract with the Arizona Coyotes at $900,000.
The Seattle Kraken’s top three centers are all left-handed, Matty Beniers, Alex Wennberg, and Yanni Gourde, as is sometimes center Ryan Donato. Fourth-liner Morgan Geekie is the lone righty in that mix.
Does Past Performance Fit Seattle Kraken
As the 19th-overall pick in the 2010 draft to the Florida Panthers, Bjugstad never piled up offensive numbers, although he did register 24 goals and 43 points in his second NHL season ending in 2015.
He scored his first NHL goal in the spring of 2013 while playing 11 games right out of the University of Minnesota. He tallied in the 1st period for the Panthers in a 5-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning and goalie Anders LIndback.
He’s had three NHL fights, including one against current Seattle Kraken defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (Penguins) in 2018. Bjugstad came to the defense of Florida teammate Mike Matheson.
The 2017-’18 season saw him put up 19 goals and a career high 49 points.
On February 1st, 2019 Bjugstad was traded with current Seattle Kraken foward Jared McCann from the Panthers to the Pittsburgh Penguins for center Derick Brassard, forward Riley Sheahan and three draft picks.
The following season Bjugstad had a serious setback; a core injury and back surgery that limited him to 13 games.
After being moved on to his hometown Minnesota Wild in 2020, seeing less ice time than he probably would have liked, and eventually being sat in the Wild’s first-round playoff loss to the St. Louis Blues in last spring, Bjugstad signed with the Coyotes in the off-season.
He’s posted eleven goals and twenty-one points in fifty games thus far.
An inexpensive rental for the time being, Bjugstad could fit into the depth chart for what can always be a rough and tumble stretch drive and potential playoff run.