Minnesota loses two more to pros as Bjugstad, Budish sign

Minnesota has lost two more players who would have been seniors next season.

Nick Bjugstad and Zach Budish have given up their senior season with the Golden Gophers to sign professional deals on Wednesday.

That comes after defenseman Nate Schmidt signed with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday.

Bjugstad signed with the Florida Panthers, who picked him 19th overall in 2010. He had 54 goals and 98 points in 109 games with Minnesota and was a second-team All-American in 2012.

“Nick is certainly ready to take his game to the next level,” Minnesota coach Don Lucia said in a news release. “We appreciate his loyalty and dedication to Gopher hockey. He has grown a lot in his three seasons with the program, and he clearly has a bright future ahead of him.”

Budish, a second-round selection by the Nashville Predators in 2009, signed an amateur tryout deal and will go to the team’s AHL affiliate in Milwaukee.

He had 35 goals and 94 points in 129 games with the Gophers.

“Zach has had to overcome two major knee surgeries in the last five years to become one of the best power forwards in college hockey,” Lucia said. “He played a pivotal role on our top two lines and was a great leader on and off the ice. Although he could have returned, he will graduate this spring and will have the chance to begin his pro career with Nashville. I want to thank Zach for all he did for Gopher hockey the last four years.”