SUNRISE, Fla. – Jonathan Huberdeau is starting to get the recognition that he deserves as a member of the NHL’s elite.
The 28-year-old has seen his game grow by leaps and bounds in recent years, averaging more than a point per game in each of the past four seasons.
Since 2017-18, Huberdeau has amassed 278 points in 242 games.
This season, in addition to continuing his torrid scoring pace, Huberdeau has seen his defensive play improve immensely, to the point where he has become a mainstay on Florida’s penalty killing unit.
He’s taken his physical game to another level as well, separating players from the puck, out-muscling opponents along the boards and winning one-on-one battles regularly.
The additions to Huberdeau’s bag of tricks haven’t stopped him from maintaining his high-end scoring pace. He’s emerged as one of the hottest scorers in the NHL over the past few weeks, putting up a ridiculous 14 points over his past six games.
Add all that up and it makes Thursday’s announcement seem almost like a formality.
The NHL revealed its All-Star Game rosters and as expected, Huberdeau was selected to represent the Panthers.
“One of the premier playmakers in the National Hockey League, Jonathan’s production is matched only by his consummate professionalism,” Panthers General Manager Bill Zito said in a statement released by the team. “He is an all-star leader and teammate, making those around him better in every way.”
This marks the second time in his career that Huberdeau has been chosen as an All-Star. He collected two goals and an assist while helping the Atlantic Division reach the final of the 2020 NHL All-Star Game played in St. Louis.
As he did in 2020, Huberdeau will also take part in the All-Star Skills Competition, though it’s not yet known which events each All-Star will participate in.
“We are proud that he has earned this tremendous opportunity and are looking forward to him bringing the growing excitement surrounding the Florida Panthers to Las Vegas,” Zito said.
Huberdeau isn’t the only member of the Panthers heading to the annual event.
Interim Head Coach Andrew Brunette was named Head Coach of the Atlantic Division earlier this week.
Florida led the division with a .729 points percentage at the conclusion of games on Jan. 10, which meant Brunette would get the nod to be behind the bench for the Atlantic All-Stars.
“I’m just benefitting from how they’ve played all year,” Brunette said. “I’m very fortunate to be in this position. I’m grateful for the opportunity, but this is a team thing. I’m just along for the ride.”
Brunette and Huberdeau may also be joined by Panthers captain Sasha Barkov.
Barkov is on the ballot for the NHL’s Last Men In, which allows fans to vote in one more All-Star for each of the League’s four divisions.
Fans can vote up to 10 times per 24 hours and voting will be open until Jan. 17 at 11:59 p.m.
To cast a ballot and vote for Barkov, click here.
The NHL’s 2022 All-Star Weekend is set to take place on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.