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Huberdeau Cracks List of NHL Network's Top-20 Wingers

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

A week after stripping the "underrated" tag from Aleksander Barkov , the crew over at NHL Network appears to have now handed it off to one of his Florida Panthers teammates - Jonathan Huberdeau.

Following a breakout 2018-19 campaign in which he registered a career-high 30 goals and 92 points, the networked has ranked Huberdeau as the 16th-best winger in the NHL heading into the upcoming season.

"He might be the most underrated player in the National Hockey League," NHL Network Analyst Mike Rupp decreed on Sunday's broadcast. "His teammates would probably argue that, saying, 'Oh, this guy is great. He's unbelievable.' ...Now with the big moves they made down there in Florida in the offseason, expect him to have a team around him now, where maybe he can lurk in the weeds a little bit more."

Video: Jonathan Huberdeau takes the No. 16 spot on the list

Playing alongside Barkov on Florida's top line, Huberdeau took his game to new heights toward the end of last season. From Feb. 17 until Game 82, the former third-overall pick accumulated the second-most points in the league, racking up 40 points -- including a league leading 17 goals -- over a 26-game span.

"My game went up this year, especially in the second half," said Huberdeau, who set a single-season franchise record with 62 assists, surpassing Viktor Kozlov's mark of 54 set in 1999-00. "I just want to be more consistent out there. That's what I'm going to work on for next year and be good every game."

Huberdeau's late-season outburst can be traced back to a three-point night against the Boston Bruins on March 7. Beginning with that game, the 26-year-old went on an incredible tear in which he registered at least two points in 10 of his final 16 games to finish with a franchise-best 31 multi-point performances.

If he continues improving, Rupp believes Huberdeau will soon be counted among the league's best.

"He doesn't get the love," Rupp said. "I love that he gets the love here. What a season Jonathan Huberdeau had. I expect more from him. Dating back to his day in the [QMJHL], he's been a point driver. He gets points, points, points."

To see the network's full rankings, click HERE.

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