When NHL teams are looking for players who know how to win, it will be hard to look past Saint John Sea Dogs center Jonathan Huberdeau
. The dynamic forward is coming off of a spectacular season dominating the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, all the while watching his draft stock rise along the way.
Huberdeau, who turned 18 on June 4th, led the Sea Dogs to a President’s Cup and Memorial Cup in 2011. He was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup’s Most Valuable Player, tallying three goals and six points in his team’s four games. Prior to being named MVP of the Memorial Cup Tournament, Huberdeau ranked second overall in QMJHL post season scoring with 30 points (16g/14a) in 19 games, earning him MVP of the postseason. By being named MVP of his league’s postseason and Memorial Cup Tournament, Huberdeau became only the sixth player to achieve such a feat (Brad Richards (2000), Danny Groulx (2002), Derek Roy (2003), Corey Perry (2005) and Taylor Hall (2009)).
Huberdeau paced the Sea Dogs during the regular season and finished third in the league with 105 points (43g/62a) in 67 games. Huberdeau ranked first in the league with a plus-59 ranking while also being named to both the QMJHL First All-Star team and Memorial Cup All-Star team.
His break out season put the Laval, Quebec, native on the map and is the main reason NHL Scouting Central ranked Huberdeau as the No. 3-ranked player among North American skaters.
|Huberdeau at the 2011 NHL Scouting Combine. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images) |
His 105-point regular season campaign marked a 70-point increase over his rookie season of 2009-10. After being drafted 18th overall in the 2009 QMJHL Entry Draft, Huberdeau stepped directly into the lineup and contributed immediately. While he helped lead the Sea Dogs to the QMJHL finals he also set a franchise record for most post season goals by a rookie (11) and finished second among rookies in playoff points with 18 (11g/7a) in 21 games. Huberdeau finished his rookie campaign with 35 points (15g/20a) in 61 regular season games. He also represented Team Quebec at the 2010 World Under-17 Challenge and helped Canada to win a gold medal at the 2010 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament.
Praised for being a game changer and having excellent puck handling abilities, Huberdeau is viewed as one of the safer picks in this year’s draft.
“He's the type of player who can change the outcome of a game suddenly and quickly. He's displayed unbelievably quick hands and an ability to set up and score goals,” said NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau. “He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability…he's also gritty and does not back down when challenged.”
Versatility is also one of Huberdeau’s strong points as he is listed as a center but was predominantly used as left winger for the Sea Dogs because of the team’s depth up the middle.
"We can use him on either position. Zack Phillips is more comfortable in the middle and Jonathan's more versatile so that's why we put him on the wing. I don't think it was preset or anything. Jonathan could take center, he's taken probably 200 face-offs this year, so he's pretty versatile that way too,” Saint John’s assistant coach Greg Leland said in an interview with HockeysFuture.com
The 6-foot-1, 170 pound forward is one of nine Saint John Sea Dogs on Central Scouting’s Rankings, which also includes both of his linemates Zack Phillips (No. 15) and Tomas Jurco (No. 20). All three finished the regular season with seven game-winning goals.
Despite both being high-ranking forwards heading into the draft, Phillips says he is one of Hubedeau’s biggest supporters and he has earned the ranking he has received.
"Jonathan’s vision on the ice is the best I've seen," Phillips said in an interview with NHL.com. "He's a winger for me and unbelievable with getting the puck off the boards and up to me at center. We work off each other really well with nice passes and he's rated very high and deserves to be there."Below are highlights of his 2010-11 season:
- Won the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as the 2011 Memorial Cup MVP...finished the tournament with 3-3=6 points in 4 GP, including an overtime winner
- Became the sixth forward in 12 years to be named MVP of his league playoffs and the Memorial Cup (also Brad Richards (2000), Danny Groulx (2002), Derek Roy (2003), Corey Perry (2005) and Taylor Hall (2009))
- Finished third overall in QMJHL scoring with 43-62=105 points in 67 games…set new Sea Dogs single-season records in points and assists
- Led the QMJHL with a plus-59 rating
Did you know?
- He is one of nine Sea Dogs on the Central Scouting list, including his linemates Tomas Jurco (No. 20 ranked) and Zack Phillips (No. 15 ranked).
- While French is his first and main language, Jonathan chose to attend an English speaking high school to open more doors academically and better prepare himself for the NHL.Archived Draft Features: