Sep 27, 2013, 5:30 PM EST
“Under Pressure” is a preseason series we’ll be running on PHT. For each team in the NHL, we’ll pick one player, coach, GM, mascot or whatever that everyone will be watching closely this season. Feel free to play the song as you read along. Also feel free to go to the comment section and tell us we picked poorly.
For the Florida Panthers we pick… Jonathan Huberdeau.
Being the brightest young star on a team desperate for consistent success can be hard. Such is the case for 20-year-old Huberdeau in Florida. Last season he took home the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie but for the Panthers he represents something else: Hope.
The Panthers were crushed by injuries and misfortune last season. Jose Theodore’s injury forced prospect Jacob Markstrom into the fire as the team’s starting goalie. Guys like Kris Versteeg, Ed Jovanovski, Stephen Weiss, Sean Bergenheim, and Scottie Upshall all missed significant time with injuries.
Huberdeau and Tomas Fleischmann were the two regulars in their top six who managed to stay healthy all season and they led the way in points. For a kid as young as he is, Huberdeau handled it all with aplomb. After a summer and preseason filled with changes, it’s up to him to just not be a complementary player, but a leader.
After putting up 31 points last season in 48 games, Huberdeau will have those injured guys back to surround him and with that his production will pick up. Now that Weiss moved on to Detroit, he’s now the top guy on the top line which means we should get more opportunities to see goals like this:
Huberdeau will need to have a John Tavares-like evolution of his play and become the superstar the Panthers haven’t had since Pavel Bure played there. Without that kind of improvement, Florida won’t be able to take that next step.
He should have more help this season, but it’s up to him to make the Panthers a playoff contender in the Atlantic Division.
For all of our Under Pressure series, click here.
- Video: Lindros and LeClair inducted into the Flyers Hall of Fame 1
- BREAKING: Voynov charged with felony for domestic violence 28
- NHL responds to concussion lawsuit, says players should have ‘put two and two together’ 36
- (Video) PHT Extra: Carlyle’s on the hot seat, Hartley’s riding high 0
- Hextall launched profanity-laced tirade against Flyers last night 30
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him 55
- NHL watching 3-on-3 OT in the AHL closely 12
- Sens’ Murray hopes to bring cancer awareness 5
- Pens’ Dupuis has blood clot in lung, out six months 25
- It’s not all Carlyle’s fault, but the Leafs’ coach is failing at his job 12
- Jack Johnson filed for bankruptcy, parents allegedly took advantage of him (55)
- Wild put Harding on waivers (Updated) (52)
- Video: Malkin runs over Girardi (Updated) (41)
- Bettman calls Panthers relocation speculation ‘unfounded’ (36)