Huberdeau, the third overall draft pick in 2011, was sent back to his junior team in Quebec last week; because of that, the Panthers cannot recall him until his Saint John Sea Dogs are eliminated from the postseason. Florida could call him up on an emergency basis, but that is unlikely.
In five preseason games with the Panthers, Huberdeau led the team with three goals. In two games with Saint John this season, he has a goal and five assists. Huberdeau, 18, is 6-foot-1 and 173 pounds. The Panthers sent him down because they didn't feel he was physically strong enough at this time.
“He is a proven winner who leads by example both on and off the ice,'' GM Dale Tallon said in a statement. “He is a great two-way player who shows passion for the game and makes players around him better. Jonathan had an excellent preseason and we look forward to his progress this season with Saint John.”
It's doubtful, but lets say Saint John gets eliminated early (again, this is a loaded, defending Memorial Cup championship team). Florida could choose to bring him up at that point; as long as he doesn't play in more than nine games than the first year of his ELC remains intact.
Saint John's final regular season game is March 17. The Dogs weren't done playing until late May last season. By then, the Panthers had been golfing for six weeks.
Here's the official release from the Panthers:
SUNRISE, Fla. – Florida Panthers Executive Vice President & General Manager Dale Tallon announced today that the club has agreed to terms on an entry-level contract with F Jonathan Huberdeau.
“We are pleased to have signed Jonathan,” said Tallon. “He is a proven winner who leads by example both on and off the ice. He is a great two-way player who shows passion for the game and makes players around him better. Jonathan had an excellent pre-season and we look forward to his progress this season with Saint John.”
Huberdeau, 18, was drafted by Florida with their first selection (third overall) in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. The St-Jerome, Quebec native played in five of the Panthers 2011 pre-season games, finishing tied for the team lead in points and first in goals (3-1-4).
The 6-foot-1, 171-pound forward appeared in 67 games for Saint John (QMJHL) during the 2010-11 season, scoring 43 goals with 62 assists and 88 PIM. Huberdeau garnered QMJHL playoff MVP (16-14-30 in 19 games) and Memorial Cup MVP (4-2-6 in four games) awards last season as Saint John won the CHL Championship.
To date this season, Huberdeau has picked up five points (1-4-5) in two games with the Sea Dogs. For his career in Saint John, Huberdeau has played in 130 contests registering 145 points (59-86-145) and 135 PIM.