We’ve reached the halfway point of the 2013 NHL season, which means it’s time to start talking about some potential award winners at the midpoint. For the Calder Trophy, there’s really no debate as to who the favorite should be at this point.
Jonathan Huberdeau had to wait a year to make his debut in the National Hockey League, a season behind fellow top three picks Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Gabriel Landeskog. But that year has proven to worth the wait.
Huberdeau has been one of the only bright spots for a Florida Panthers team that has struggled pretty mightily the season. He’s been one of the best players for the Panthers this season, and has been one of the top rookies in the entire league, as far as his offense is concerned.
On the season, Huberdeau has 17 points, including 12 goals and five assists. That point total is second among rookies, behind Cory Conacher and he leads over Conacher with his 12 goals to Conacher’s seven.
What has been really impressive about Huberdeau is his defensive play. Coming into the league, we knew he could score goals. But he’s been defensively responsible playing in the middle. His line of Peter Mueller and Drew Shore has excelled at both ends of the ice for the Cats.
The scary thing is that Huberdeau still has a ways to go in improving his game at this level, and that could come as soon as this season. He continues to improve, with four of his 17 points coming since the month of March started. This kid is going to be a superstar. We’ve only seen him for a couple of months so far, but he’s made it pretty clear that he intends on being a force in this league.