Even though he will spend this season with the Saint John Sea Dogs, you can now say Jonathan Huberdeau is officially a Florida Panther. The team announced it inked Huberdeau to a three year entry-level contract Monday. Details of the deal weren’t officially released as of this writing.
Huberdeau impressed management, coaches, and fans this preseason in Sunrise as he led the team with three goals. Despite his stellar performance, GM Dale Tallon thought his development would be better served with another year in the QMJHL to get stronger and add some weight to his frame, so he was returned to Saint John on October 3. He’s played in two games (both blowout wins) for the Sea Dogs since then, where he’s tallied a goal and four assists.
There is the very slimmest of chances he could wear a Panthers sweater this season. He can be recalled if the Panthers have an emergency injury situation (per RDS and even then, it would be for a short time only) or the team can add him after the Sea Dogs season is over. It’s worth noting that Huberdeau’s junior season lasted almost a month and a half longer than the Panthers, as the Sea Dogs won the CHL’s Memorial Cup on May 29.
The signing spares Panthers fans the agony of a summer of rumors (mostly from TSN) of Huberdeau wanting to go elsewhere like they had to endure this year with Erik Gudbranson. It also means, Huberdeau can prepare this off season to play in the NHL without worry in regards to his contract.
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