Exodus on? Nick Bjugstad, Zach Budish leaving 'U' hockey team, too
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It appears Nate Schmidt isn't the only player leaving the Gophers hockey team.
Zach Budish has signed a two-year, two-way deal worth $1.15 million with the Nashville Predators, the French Canadian media outlet RDS reported on Wednesday morning.
The University of Minnesota later announced that Budish had signed an amateur tryout deal the Predators' American Hockey League affiliate in Milwaukee.
Hours after the RDS report on Budish, the Florida Panthers announced they had signed center Nick Bjugstad to an entry-level deal, too.
Budish, 21, had 35 goals and 59 assists in 129 games over parts of four seasons with the Gophers. The Edina native had one year of eligibility remaining.
He was a second-round draft pick (41st overall) in 2009 by the Predators, who entered Wednesday tied with the St. Louis Blues for the eighth and final seed in the NHL's Western Conference playoffs.
Bjugstad, 20, had 54 goals and 44 assists in three seasons with the Gophers. The Blaine native was a first-round pick (19th overall) in 2010 by the Panthers, who have the Eastern Conference's worst record at 12-19-6.
Schmidt signed a two-year deal with the Washington Capitals on Tuesday. Any player who signs before Wednesday's trade deadline is eligible for the playoffs.