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Florida Panthers season snapshot awards

Huberdeau, with team-high 78 points, named MVP; Barkov excels again as defensive forward

by Amalie Benjamin @AmalieBenjamin / Staff Writer

With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.

Today, the award-worthy candidates for the Florida Panthers at the pause:

The Florida Panthers haven't met their expectations this season of qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since 2015-16. As of the pause, the Panthers trail the Toronto Maple Leafs by three points for third place in the Atlantic Division and the Carolina Hurricanes and Columbus Blue Jackets by three points for the first wild card into the postseason from the Eastern Conference.

But there have been some award-worthy performances this season for the Panthers, who are trying to reach the playoffs for the sixth time in their history.

To showcase the top performances this season, here are the top players in various categories:



Jonathan Huberdeau leads the Panthers with 78 points (23 goals, 55 assists), and the forward was their representative at the 2020 Honda NHL All-Star Game. With 13 games left in the regular season, Huberdeau has a chance of surpassing his NHL career high of 92 points, set in 2018-19.

Video: FLA@COL: Huberdeau strikes quickly in overtime



Chris Driedger wasn't supposed to see much time in goal for the Panthers after they brought in Sergei Bobrovsky as a free agent on a seven-year contract. But Driedger is 7-2-1 with a 2.05 goals-against average and .938 save percentage in 12 games (11 starts) after beginning the season third on the depth chart behind Bobrovsky and Sam Montembeault.

Video: FLA@STL: Driedger stretches to deny Steen



Aaron Ekblad has been a bright spot despite Florida's defensive woes (3.25 goals-against per game, 28th in NHL). He leads the Panthers with a plus-12 rating, and his 84 blocks are second among their defensemen behind Anton Stralman's 96. Ekblad has 41 points (five goals, 36 assists), second to Keith Yandle (45 points) among Florida defensemen.

Video: FLA@CAR: Ekblad dekes and scores backhand goal


Defensive forward

Aleksander Barkov has evolved into arguably one of the best defensive forwards in the NHL. The Panthers center has yet to win the Selke Trophy, but his name is consistently mentioned among worthy candidates. He leads Florida with 51 takeaways and has an NHL career-high face-off winning percentage of 54.3 percent.

Video: FLA@MIN: Barkov buries beautiful breakaway on Stalock


Comeback player

Mike Matheson had 135 giveaways last season, the most in the NHL. But the Panthers defenseman has managed to cut that number down to 54, the fewest he's had in an NHL season (he had 65 in 2016-2017). Matheson also has 20 points (eight goals, 12 assists) in 59 games, seven shy of his NHL career high of 27 (2017-18, 2018-19).

Video: CHI@FLA: Matheson buries late game-tying wrist shot

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