Jonathan Huberdeau is making life tough on Dale Tallon and Kevin Dineen.
No Florida Panthers player has scored more goals in the 2011 NHL preseason than the Saint John Sea Dogs standout, and only veteran Tomas Fleishmann and second-year defenseman Dmitry Kulikov have equaled his four point output thus far.
But the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft is without a contract. In fact, he’s the only of the top-3 selected from June’s draft in Minnesota to not be signed. Both Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche’s Gabriel Landeskog have both inked new deals and are expected to start the season in the National Hockey League. Landeskog, often called the draft’s most NHL-ready forward, is expected to stick with the Avalanche, while the future of Nugent-Hopkins has sparked heated debate about where he’s best developed.
The St. Jerome, PQ. native has until Tuesday to sign or he’ll be returned to Saint John. Huberdeau had 43 goals and 105 points last season for the defending Memorial Cup Champions last season, a team that certainly has the tools to repeat.
But should the six-foot-one, 171-pounder sign before then, Huberdeau will have the opportunity to extend his audition another nine games. Game 10 will enact the first year of Huberdeau’s currently hypothetical three-year entry-level contract.
And should he get that, Huberdeau could make the decision even harder on the Florida Panthers.
Aaron Vickers is the managing editor of Future Considerations and can be found on Twitter. For all the latest Future Considerations news and posts, follow FC’s Official Twitter Feed, on YouTube and on Facebook!