Nick Bjugstad has back surgery, will miss rest of season

Nick Bjugstad had 24 goals in his second season with the Panthers.

Anne-Marie Sorvin/Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

SUNRISE, Fla. — The Florida Panthers playoff push will continue without one of their brightest young stars.

Nick Bjugstad, who currently leads the Panthers with 24 goals, has been ruled out for the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery on his lower back at the Mayo Sports Clinic in Minneapolis, the team announced late Friday night.

”After consulting with Nick and thoroughly evaluating the extent of his injury, we mutually felt it was important to have this procedure done as soon as possible,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said in a release.

”Nick showed a tremendous amount of character over the past month, playing through an injury, while helping our club compete down the final stretch for a playoff spot. He will be closely monitored by our medical staff during his rehabilitation process and will be ready for the start of training camp in September.”

Bjugstad, who sat out Florida’s last two games with what coach Gerard Gallant described as ”lower-body soreness,” had been absent from nearly every practice and morning skate in recent weeks.

The first rookie to ever lead the Panthers in scoring, Bjugstad ends his sophomore season with 24 goals and 43 points in 72 games. He signed a six-year extension with the Panthers on Dec. 31, 2014.

The 22-year-old center is expected to make a full recovery.

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