Rookie Report: Huberdeau Shines Among Youngsters


Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

At just nineteen years of age, Jonathan Huberdeau is already quickly becoming a household name in the NHL after making a name for himself during three and a half years in the QMJHL.

Jonathan Huberdeau is currently second in rookie scoring in the NHL, behind the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Cory Conacher – but how did he get here? Let’s take a look.

Huberdeau, a native of St. Jerome, Quebec, played for the Saint-Eustache Vikings prior to being drafted into the QMJHL in 2009. The Saint John Sea Dogs drafted Huberdeau 18th overall in that year’s entry draft, and he made his QMJHL debut the following fall with the team.

As a rookie, he scored fifteen goals and 20 assists for 35 points in 61 regular season games. Huberdeau would also add 18 points (11-7) in 21 playoff games as the Sea Dogs went on to the QMJHL championship, falling to Moncton in six games.

Huberdeau’s sophomore season would be an explosive one, as he burst out onto the QMJHL scene with a 105-point season. Huberdeau had 43 goals and 62 assists in 67 regular season games before adding an additional 30 points in 19 playoff games. The Sea Dogs returned to the QMJHL championship, but this time, they came out on top, defeating Gatineau in six games.

Huberdeau ended his sophomore season third overall in scoring and second in playoff scoring. He was named Playoff MVP and received the Guy Lafleur Trophy as Saint John won their first-ever Memorial Cup. The Sea Dogs defeated the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 3-1 in the final to win the title, becoming the first team based in the Canadian Maritimes to win the Memorial Cup. He also received the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup MVP.

Following the impressive season, he was first drafted into the KHL fifth overall by Vityaz Chekhov but clearly expressed his opposition to migrating overseas. Shortly after, the NHL’s Florida Panthers selected Huberdeau third overall in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, behind Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog.

During his third season in the Q, Huberdeau played just 37 games due to a foot injury suffered in November that would keep him out for a portion of the season. Despite missing a large chunk of the year, Huberdeau still managed to score 72 points (30-42) in 37 games. He also won a bronze medal with Team Canada at the 2012 World Junior Championships and was third on the national team in scoring, ninth overall in the tournament, with a goal and eight assists in six games. He also returned to Saint John to play 15 playoff games, earning 21 points (10-11) in that stretch.

With this season’s NHL lockout, Huberdeau returned to Saint John for a fourth season with the Sea Dogs. In 30 games, he had 16 goals and 29 assists for 45 points on the season. When the NHL lockout ended, Huberdeau made the Florida Panthers roster and made his NHL debut against the Carolina Hurricanes on January 19, 2013. Right from the get-go, he made sure the NHL fanbase knew his name, scoring a goal and two assists in his NHL premiere.

To date, he’s played 24 games in the NHL, scoring at least a point in nine of those games and already having four multi-point games. His career-high so far was a four-point night (2-2) against the Philadelphia Flyers on February 21 as Huberdeau scored the game-winning goal.

Get used to hearing Jonathan Huberdeau’s name, because he’ll be around for quite a while.