The Jonathan Huberdeau Contract Phenomenon

Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography
Image courtesy of @turbuL3NT2 / COTP Photography

In the past few weeks, many Panthers players have signed to new deals to renew their contracts with the team. Jonathan Huberdeau, the team’s only restricted free-agent left, has been extended an offer but the lack of news regarding this issue leaves us wondering: When will Huberdeau be signed and what will the terms of the deal be? Well, we don’t currently have an answer to that question but some research has led to speculation of the possible terms of his contract. Read more to find out about the terms we propose to extend to Jonathan Huberdeau.

Background

Jonathan Huberdeau was the 3rd overall pick in the 2011 draft and he came from the QMJHL’s St. John Sea Dogs. In his rookie season (2012-2013), Huberdeau scored 14 goals and 17 assists for a total of 31 points in 48 games. This earned him the Calder Trophy. However, in the 2013-2014 season, Huberdeau scored only 9 goals and 19 assists for a total of 28 points in 69 games. He scored more goals in his rookie season, which was curtailed due to the lockout. He came into this previous season slowly but began to find his stride with Aleksander Barkov and eventually Jaromir Jagr. He ended up scoring 15 goals and 39 assists, which adds up to 54 points in 79 games. This is a huge improvement over the 2013-2014 gameplay, but it is still not exactly what the team and fans expected from a former Calder winner. His current Average Annual Value (AAV) is $3,194,166. For more information on Huberdeau and his progression throughout the years, click here to read my player spotlight on him.

Player Comparison

With all that being said, I thought that in order to properly create a deal that would best fit Huberdeau’s performance, it would be beneficial for me to look at some other players who played similarly to Huberdeau this past season. I chose 4 left-wingers to analyze in order to have a grasp on the type of deal that a player like Jonathan Huberdeau should be offered. Keep in mind that Brandon Saad’s new contract gives him a much larger sum of money than his previous one does, most likely due not only to his gameplay during the regular season, but also because of his playoff performance. He scored 8 goals and 3 assists for 11 points in 23 games. We have not seen Jonathan Huberdeau perform in the playoffs yet, but in time, as the Panthers progress, he may find his stride in the playoffs and thus may be opened to new performance bonuses to his contract.

Conclusion

So, after analyzing this information, I believe that we should try to sign Huberdeau for as long as possible, which may be difficult because he would want more money in that case. Realistically, I would like him signed to a 5 year deal for $4,000,000 per year. If he does not agree to a 5 year deal, a 4 year deal would be the logical next move. In the future, if he exceeds expectations, he may be offered more money and if a time comes where he is eligible for a performance bonus clause in his contract, that may be a plausible idea as well. During negotiation, it will be important to note that while he did win the Calder Trophy and though he was drafted at a very high pick, his performance in the past years has not really reflected that. A player that is being paid as much as he is should be performing at a higher level. Nonetheless, he does have great potential and can easily excel on another team so it is important to sign him for as long as possible without paying him an absurd amount of money.

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