Panthers' Bjugstad undergoes season-ending back surgery

Sunrise, FL ( - Florida Panthers forward Nick Bjugstad underwent season-ending back surgery on Friday.

Bjugstad, who was signed to a six-year contract extension in December, compiled 24 goals and 19 assists over 72 games in his third season with the Panthers.

"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," Florida general manager Dale Tallon said. "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."

Selected 19th overall by the Panthers in the 2010 draft, the 22-year-old has recorded 41 goals and 82 points in 159 career games.