As 80’s hardcore punk outfit Fang aptly put it, “I’ll just sit and grin/The money will roll right in.“
Putting an end to contract negotiations that dragged on for months, Cats star forward Jonathan Huberdeau put pen to paper on a two year deal worth a reported $6.5 million.
And I am SO DAMN STOKED MY GAWD.
The third overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Huberdeau shined as an elite offensive playmaker while skating for the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL. After another year and a half of seasoning at the Major Junior level, Huberdeau was summoned to the professional squad, suiting up in Panther red during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 campaign.
Boy, was his impact felt.
Rifling through the opposition, Huby posted a final dashline of 14G/17A/31P through his 48-game rookie season, earning the precocious talent Calder Memorial Trophy honors as the league’s rookie of the year. Following the traditional sophomore slump, the Saint-Jerome, Quebec, native had himself a career season, most notably exploding for 21 points in 20 games down the back stretch. In a contract year, Huberdeau made the most of his ice time; skating on Florida’s top line alongside all-time great Jaromir Jagr and fellow young gun Aleksander Barkov, the Canadian winger accrued career-best goal (15), assist (39) and point (54) totals, leading the team in scoring and proving himself a key cog in the Cats’ late-season playoff push.
In addition to his early intraleague success, Huberdeau boasts an impressive national pedigree. Having suited up for his native Canada, Huby has, to date, represented the Great White North on five separate occasions; split across four levels of play, he’s laced up his skates for Canada’s U17, U18 Ivan Hlinka, World Junior and World Championship squads, nabbing a third place medal back at the 2012 World Junior Championships.
An affordable deal, general manager Dale Tallon managed to sign Huberdeau to a cost-effective (per Yahoo Sports, Huby-who will make less than the newly acquired Reilly Smith-now carries the sixth-highest cap hit among forwards) bridge contract that locks down one of the franchise’s youthful cornerstones. Entering his fourth season, the 22-year old francophone has his best years ahead of him-at least the next two of those will be played out in Sunrise.