Say it ain't so, but the Panthers found a way to make some positive noise on the heels of a horrific season, as rookie Jonathan Huberdeau seized enough momentum despite several scoring droughts - on a remarkably underperforming squad - to secure the Nation Hockey League's Calder Memorial Trophy (layman's definition: rookie of the year).
This is the first such honor for the organization, yet only one more such distinction for Huberdeau who has already accumulated a vast resume of international and QMJHL success in a short span. His Calder victory over fellow nominees Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks and the Montreal Canadiens' Brendan Gallagher gives local (and a few not-so-local) fans a few precious moments to celebrate following a campaign which delivered far short of expectations borne on playoff action of a season ago. That's a story which has been told a hundred times since mid-April, so we'll simply savor the recognition of a Panthers player who earned every bit of his award.
2013 Regular Season Stats:
|2012 - Jonathan Huberdeau||48||14||17||31||-15||18||2||0||1||112|
|2012 - Brendan Gallagher||44||15||13||28||10||33||3||0||3||117|
|2012 - Brandon Saad||46||10||17||27||17||12||0||1||2||98|
Let the plus/minus debate commence! From the club:
"The entire Florida Panthers organization is very proud of Jonathan and we commend him on earning this very special honor," said Florida Panthers Executive VP/GM Dale Tallon. "He is a young, skilled and dynamic player who handled himself with both class and professionalism throughout his exceptional rookie season. Jonathan is hard working and dedicated player who is an important part of our young nucleus of talent that will be counted upon to lead our organization to future success."
Next up: securing the 2014 Calder Trophy winner...