An impressive crop of rookies has emerged in the 2013 NHL season and one of them will walk away with the Calder Trophy at the end of the season for his efforts. One of the long awaited prospects playing this season, one who might get the Calder in June, is Jonathan Huberdeau.
The Florida Panthers drafted Huberdeau with the third overall selection in the 2011 NHL Draft. Huberdeau was called up from the QMJHL to start the NHL season this year. Prior to his NHL debut, Huberdeau was leading the Saint John Sea Dogs with 45 points in 30 games.
He had a successful career with Saint John. In the 2011-2012 season, he scored 72 points. Before that, he hit triple digits, scoring 105 points and leading the team in scoring.
The 19-year-old has adapted well in the NHL. He scored in his second shift with the Panthers, now has three points in six games and ranks eighth in the league in rookie scoring. He is getting over 15 minutes of action a game on the second and third lines for the Panthers. I expect him to continue to see time on the top two lines and powerplay lines. His stats will go up and he can easily enter the top five in scoring and Calder contention.
The Panthers rank 28th in the NHL in scoring and need a player like Huberdeau to step up and contribute. The rookie forward can contribute immediately he should finally be settled in soon. The Panthers recently announced that they will not send Huberdeau back down to the QMJHL. This should boost his confidence and pay dividends for the team.