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Future Sabres: Aaron Huglen

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By Warren Kozireski —

It’s only been two seasons since Buffalo Sabres 2019 fourth round draft pick and University of Minnesota sophomore forward Aaron Huglen missed the entire season due to disc surgery in his back.

But the 6’0”, 170 lb. Minnesota native is more than making up for lost time.

He bettered his freshman year point total by one and made himself familiar on the big stage with a pair of assists in the national semi-final game at the Frozen Four in Tampa including a between the legs pass across the crease to a wide-open Rhett Pitlick on the power play. He added a secondary assist on the clinching goal in the third period.

“Rhett (Pitlick) sent me a Sydney Crosby kind of play similar to that this afternoon, and I said, ‘yeah, we can try that if you break to the net’ and he broke to the net and I found him,” Huglen said after the semi-final.

(Aaron Huglen)

“Tampa is an unreal city, it’s fun to be in the warn weather coming from Minnesota, so I’m excited to be here. We’re here for business and everyone is dialed in, but it’s nice to enjoy the weather too.

“It’s been another year of more confidence and I think it’s been going pretty well. I try to play fast; got some fast linemates too, so it’s fun to play with them.”

Huglen played for Roseau High in Minnesota before joining Fargo in the USHL during his senior year. After recovering from his surgery, he rejoined Fargo and put up a 15 goal with 20 assists regular season followed by eight points in nine playoff contests.

The 22-year-old uses his explosive speed and has hockey bloodlines with his father, Mike, having played Division III hockey at Bethel University and his uncle, Mark, spending time with the Golden Gophers and Notre Dame. His younger brother, Paul, is working his way through junior hockey now in the NAHL and is committed to play Division III hockey at Concordia.

Since being drafted, Huglen hasn’t been able to participate in the Prospect Camp in the fall due to school commitments but has attended the summer Development Camp with Buffalo.

“It’s gone really well. There have been a lot of changes obviously within the organization, but I loved every time that I’ve gone out there. A really, really good staff especially this year.

“They really emphasize a day at a time—a year at a time—keep developing. For me that’s been the same crew so I’m most close with them and they just continue to encourage us day by day.”

(Huglen In Action)

Huglen lost one season and 18 months to his back injury, surgery and the ensuing rehabilitation, but he doesn’t feel delayed in his development in hockey at all.

It was a long process, but in some ways beneficial.

“Mainly personal just trying to figure things out. My faith is everything to me, and in that time, my life changed. Hockey was all I cared about, but when that got taken away, I really had to take a step back and look at the bigger picture in life.

“It’s been a blessing really and I’m thankful for it.”

Huglen has two years of college eligibility remaining if he wants to use it. Or he could decide to begin the next phase of his hockey career once Minnesota completes their Frozen Four championship effort on Saturday.

(University of Minnesota Athletics/Hockey Photos)