Saturday, May 7, 2016

Up-and-Comers on the Cheap - Nick Bjugstad

Time for another round of cheap cards of an up-and-coming NHL star courtesy of COMC!  Today's subject is Panthers center Nick Bjugstad.  We'll start off with his base Prizm RC, a short print and a card that also fills a hole in my slowly growing set.

When the Bruins tanked it down the stretch this season, and I needed a new team to follow in the playoffs, I sort of adopted the Florida Panthers.  They've built an impressive young team through patience and the draft, and on top of that I was eager to see an aging Jaromir Jagr have one last long playoff run.  I really enjoyed watching them all year long actually, but unfortunately it wasn't meant to be as the team couldn't get out of the first round of the playoffs against John Tavares and the Islanders.

Here's another one, a blue Fire & Ice insert from 2013-14 Select.  These are gaudy as hell, but for some reason I enjoy them.  It was less than a buck, anyway.

Looking only at the raw stats, it would appear that Bjugstad took a step back in 2015-16 after a career year the season prior.  He still managed to hit the 15-goal mark for the third straight year though, and added 19 assists.  In 226 career NHL games, Nick has tallied 56 goals and an even 60 assists, so he's basically a point every other game guy.

Here's a variation on the Prizm rookie that led off the post, this one is the "Red Pulsar Prizm" variety.  A fitting color for a Panthers card for sure.

Nick is a big kid, at 6' 6" and close to 220 pounds.  He played a lot of valuable second line center minutes for Florida this season, and brings a good physical element to the lineup.  He's definitely not a player who's afraid to create traffic in front of the net or go to those dirty areas for a cheap goal now and again.

Alright, so I'm pretty much hopelessly addicted to Panini Prizm (*the licensed, hockey version anyway).  These Cracked Ice parallels, which are basically identical to Topps Chrome Atomic Refractors, are my absolute favorite.

Here's the last card I've got for tonight, Nick's Young Guns Canvas rookie!  Given my love for the Upper Deck Canvas inserts, this might very well be my favorite of the bunch.  I really like the photograph of Bjugstad being encouraged by the hometown crowd as he takes the ice.

I saw an article today where Bjugstad was quoted as saying that he's already excited for the 2016-17 season, and I think he should be.  The Panthers got some good playoff experience this year, and with the youth and talent they have on the roster there is every reason to believe they'll be in the playoff mix again next season.

I think Nick Bjugstad, who's still just 23 years old, has a great future ahead of him in the NHL.  I'll certainly be watching his career progress with interest, and I'm glad I could formulate this small collection of some of his rookie cards.  My total bill for all five of these was $8.50, so I clearly didn't have to break the bank on any of them...

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