After playing three seasons of junior hockey with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL, Jonathan Huberdeau made his NHL debut on January 19th, 2013 in the Panthers’ first game of the most recent lockout-shortened season. Read on for a look back at how the Quebec-native dazzled in his first big-league game.
Facing the Hurricanes, the Panthers’ offense was kickstarted by Jonathan Huberdeau, who tallied his first NHL goal (and point) on his first NHL shot in his second career shift. Veteran Alex Kovalev took the puck over the Hurricanes’ blue-line on the left-wing and attempted to center the puck in the slot for the newly-signed Peter Mueller, but it deflected off the skate of defenseman Jay Harrison into the left corner. Kovalev retrieved the puck and tapped it to the opposite side where Mueller was waiting, and he quickly passed it to the front of the net where Huberdeau, who gained inside positioning on Bobby Sanguinetti, shot the puck between the legs of Cam Ward.
Huberdeau’s night was not over, however. He notched his first NHL assist when he made a beautiful pass in traffic to Scottie Upshall who one-timed the puck past Ward on the powerplay, and tallied another assist on the Panthers’ 5th goal of the game which was scored by Alex Kovalev. Huberdeau would also be called for his first penalty in the NHL when he was caught holding Jordan Staal in the first period. To cap things off, he was named the 1st star of the game, an award that would become a precursor to him winning the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie that year.