With everyone focused on Aleksander Barkov as the main storyline in Florida, Jonathan Huberdeau has quietly kept the Florida Panthers afloat. As the longest-tendered Panther on the roster, Huberdeau leads the team in points this season with two games left in the regular season. Huberdeau finds himself chasing that 500-point mark as he could be the first Florida Panther to do it.
Jonathan Huberdeau Chasing 500
The Panthers will be rounding out the season with a two-game homestand against the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Florida Panthers find themselves battling for home-ice advantage with the Bolts. For the first time in either of these team’s history, they will play each other in a playoff round. Fresh off a Stanley Cup victory the year before, Tampa Bay remains one of the betting favourites to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup.
If the Lightning are to win the Cup this year, they will become the tenth team in NHL history to go back-to-back. Yet, with the roster they’ve had these past few years, it’s almost surprising they haven’t done it. Nonetheless, now is a good time as ever, right? If the Bolts want to win the Stanley Cup, then they have to take down Jonathan Huberdeau and the red hot Florida Panthers to do it.
Heading into Saturday night’s game against the interstate rivals, the Panthers have played exceptionally well. They’ve going 8-2 in that time, with Huberdeau at the forefront of it all. Recording 15 points in those 10 games, Huberdeau finds himself just four points shy of 500. If he can score those four points, he would hold yet another Florida Panther milestone. Already the franchise leader in assists, points, even-strength goals, and assists per game, he will be the first Panther player to reach the 500-point milestone.
Another Underrated Season for Huberdeau
Heading into the shortened season, many fans and analysts believed that the Panthers would be a mediocre team. Maybe battling for the fourth and final playoff spot if they were lucky with a first-time general manager who brought in 10 new faces. It was almost as if the Panthers were a bit of the “land for misfit toys.” Instead, the ‘Cats’ came flying out of the gate and never looked back. While Barkov is and should be the Selke favourite this season, without Huberdeau, things would not be the same. Scoring 59 points in 54 games played, Huberdeau consistently finishes top-ten on the team in points. As a matter of fact, in an injury-riddled season. He has finished top-ten on the team in points every year he has been a part of the organisation.
While Huberdeau is an incredible hockey player and arguably one of the better passers in the league, is no secret. It is the underlying numbers that genuinely give him the quiet but deadly title. As of Thursday, Huberdeau is the team leader in points, assists, and games played this season. He is also one of the most productive skaters in the league. Thanks to MoneyPuck.com; of all the skaters in the NHL. Huberdeau currently sits within the top-ten in the league in points at 59.
If you know Huberdeau’s game, then you know how creative he can be. Truly a wizard with the puck. No one in the building can anticipate what will happen next whenever it is on his stick. Being a guy who is a pass-first player has worked out very well for him. He is sitting at sixth in the league at Assists Per 60 with 2.41, and ninth in Points Per 60 with 3.56. Jonathan Huberdeau has officially stolen the “most underrated” title from his teammate Aleksander Barkov.