Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey Card

With the resurgence of the Boston Bruins, the Florida Panthers have taken a bit of a fall in the standings, losing seven of their last eight games before their win against the mighty New York Islanders earlier tonight.

Always consistent and ever-improving, Jonathan Huberdeau had an assist, less than a month removed from being named the NHL's Third Star Of The Week in mid-January. The 2012-13 Calder Trophy winner has been on a steady pace of surpassing himself in each of his three NHL seasons:
2012-13: 14 goals, 17 assists, 31 points in 48 games
2013-14: 9 goals, 19 assists, 28 points in an injury-filled 69 games
2014-15: 9 goals, 18 assists, 27 points in just 46 games so far
All this while averaging just 16 minutes of play per game, fifth-most among Panthers forwards, second among left wingers behind Jussi Jokinen (he's playing on the wing this year because Florida also has Nick Bjugstad, Alexander Barkov and Dave Bolland who can play center, and all have seen more ice time than he has so far).

The Panthers know they have a gem on their hands (plenty, actually, with Barkov and defenseman Aaron Ekblad chief among them), what with head coach Gerard Gallant having also coached Huberdeau (and the Montréal Canadiens' Nathan Beaulieu) in the LHJMQ with the Saint John Sea Dogs. They'll be very good for a very long time, and in the meantime are just so exciting to watch.

Night in and night out, goalie Roberto Luongo keeps them in games and gives them a chance to fight for a playoff spot, which will do wonders for the long-term perspective of teaching these kids how to win, and how to handle a race to the playoffs - and eventually the pressure of a do-or-die situation.

If the playoffs were decided with my heart rather than standing points, they'd definitely earn Wild Card status.

I look forward to collecting more cards like this one, where Huberdeau can be seen wearing the Panthers' white (away) uniform, with a orangey-red jersey swatch from a photo shoot:
It's card #RF-JH from Upper Deck's 2013-14 SP Game-Used Edition set, part of its Rookie Fabrics sub-set.

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