Florida Panthers: Under No Circumstance Should Huberdeau Be Traded

SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 12: Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of the Florida Panthers is greeted by fans on the way out to the ice for warm ups prior to the start of the game against the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center on February 12, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images)
SUNRISE, FL - FEBRUARY 12: Jonathan Huberdeau #11 of the Florida Panthers is greeted by fans on the way out to the ice for warm ups prior to the start of the game against the Dallas Stars at the BB&T Center on February 12, 2019 in Sunrise, Florida. (Photo by Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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What’s left of the Florida Panthers universe was in for a shock on Monday afternoon when TSN released a trade story about Jonathan Huberdeau on social media.

TSN’s trade bait board isn’t necessarily a paragon beacon of the future, but if they were reporting it substantively, then someone somewhere brought up the idea.

The likelihood of it happening in the next 13 days is infinitely slim, but no matter the odds of it happening, the Florida Panthers under no circumstances should consider trading Jonathan Huberdeau for any reason, financial or hockey related.

Seravalli’s piece doesn’t mention anything specific, other than that Huberdeau could be a chip in a trade to acquire Panarin and Bobrovsky before the trade deadline.

With the Panthers recent slide, a trade to acquire either or both of those players before the deadline seems fool-hardy as the season is already all but over and would cost too much in futures or presents, especially as the Jackets would likely get more from teams in contention, unless Florida is actually dangling Huberdeau in these talks, which would be a poor decision.

At one point this season, Huberdeau was on a tear. Lately, he’s been off with only one goal in his last 15 games.

He’s still second on the team with 52 points, only behind Barkov and has the ability to be one of the league’s premier playmakers.

His contract is also a major asset, with four years left at a $5.9 million AAV, however a no-move clause kicks in on July 1.

No matter how poorly Huberdeau is playing right now, or whatever his body language might be suggesting, Huberdeau is part of the solution in Florida, not the problem.

Dale Tallon has already made moves with eyes on signing Sergei Bobrovsky and Artemi Panarin this summer, which is why he cleared nearly $5.5 million in cap space in sending Nick Bjugstad and Jared McCann to Pittsburgh.

Mike Hoffman has an AAV at $5.1875M with one year left on his deal and a modified no-trade clause, and his name was mentioned as a possible trade chip in Elliote Friedman’s recent 31 Thoughts column.

Hoffman is also four years older than Huberdeau, and will be due for a decent raise in his next contract.

If Dale Tallon needs to make space financially and in the top six for a potential Panarin acquisition, a Hoffman trade seems far more likely because of not only for the structure of a deal, but because Huberdeau’s significance to the franchise is far greater both on and off the ice.

However, there is the possibility that it’s not the Panthers driving this rumor, it might be Huberdeau’s camp doing so.

He seems visibly frustrated on the ice and in his play far more than some of his teammates do. He’s not playing with the same kind of fluidity and ease with which he can when he’s at his best.

Seeing a good friend and another long-time Panther in Nick Bjugstad traded away to a contending team may also have created an unintended knock-on effect in the dressing room, especially with the core group.

However, such problems could easily be addressed in talks between Huberdeau and Panthers management to clear the air, rather than floating trade speculation.

But one can’t blame him for his frustration. Most Panthers fans already seem to be at their wit’s end with the organization, and trading Huberdeau would add gasoline to a fire that seems to be spreading fast.

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It’s clear what the Panthers want to do this summer, and to get both Bobrovsky and Panarin in the fold, the Panthers will need space under the salary cap and whatever budget they may have to do so.

There are easier and more effective ways to clear that space without trading away a franchise cornerstone in Jonathan Huberdeau, no matter what on and off-ice slump he might be in at present.

Such a move would not only anger what few fans the organization has left, but could also arguably make the team worse instead of better.

The likelihood of a Huberdeau trade happening before the trade deadline is not very high, and the odds don’t go up much even for a trade before July 1.

But the fact that there’s talk at all of a trade being mooted is a major concern. Not only does the organization have better options to set themselves up for summer runs at Bobrovsky and Panarin, but it shouldn’t cost them a franchise cornerstone in the process.

Next. Don’t Buy into the Jonathan Huberdeau Trade Rumor. dark

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