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Huberdeau's Record Shared by Longtime Panthers Teammates

by Jameson Olive / @JamesonCoop / FloridaPanthers.com

Huberdeau Passes Jokinen

Jonathan Huberdeau becomes franchise leader in points

Jonathan Huberdeau tallied his 420th point, passing Olli Jokinen to become the Florida Panthers all-time franchise leader in points.

  • 01:25 •

SUNRISE, Fla. - Jonathan Huberdeau knows he couldn't have done it alone.

Not long after setting a new franchise record with the 420th point of his career, the Florida Panthers winger stood in the locker room, the historic puck clenched in his right hand, and began doling out praise among his longtime teammates that helped him get to that moment.

"I've got to thank a lot of guys here that have played with me a lot of years," he said. "Especially Barky (Aleksander Barkov), Trochy (Vincent Trocheck), a lot of you guys. This means a lot."

Selected third-overall by the Panthers in the 2011 NHL Draft, Huberdeau, despite being just 26 years old, is the longest-tenured player on the team. He's seen plenty of players come and go over the years, but he's also had the fortune of forging lifelong bonds with a very select a few.

So, when he assisted on Mike Hoffman's power-play goal in the third period of Sunday's 8-4 win over Toronto at BB&T Center to pick up career point No. 420 and break a tie with former Panthers captain Olli Jokinen for the franchise's all-time scoring lead, the joy was shared by all. 

Video: TOR@FLA: Huberdeau sets franchise points record

"It was awesome," said Barkov, who set up Huberdeau's goal to tie the record earlier in the game. "He's the franchise points leader and it's unbelievable… When they announced it on the board, you kind of sat there and figured out what happened, how big of an accomplishment it is."

In the midst of his eighth season in the NHL, Huberdeau has spent seven of them in a stall near, or typically next, to Barkov. In recent seasons, the dynamic duo has come together to form one of the league's most-potent lines, which has fueled their respective climbs up the record books.

Seemingly destined to end up one-two on the franchise's all-time lists for every major offensive category, Huberdeau currently ranks first in points (420) and assists (277), while also residing sixth in goals (143). Barkov, meanwhile, is fourth in goals (149) and tied for third in points (394).

"He's one of the best guys I've ever met," Barkov, 24, said. "We have a lot of fun every day here working hard and playing games. Guys like me, Troch (Trocheck), Ekkie (Aaron Ekblad), Yands (Keith Yandle), we've been here or a while and we really enjoying being around each other."

For Trocheck, the emotions were also running high during Huberdeau's big night.

Although they've shared the ice for the past seven seasons, the 26-year-old center actually got to know Huberdeau long before that. As a fellow member of the 2011 draft class (he was taken with the 64th overall pick in the third round), they first met at development camp that summer.

From those seeds, a powerful friendship blossomed.

"It's awesome to be a part of," Trocheck said. "Obviously, he's been a phenomenal player for this team for a long time and I've been lucky enough to play with him for the last seven years. He's made life a lot easier on me and just playing alongside of him makes this team a lot better."

 

 

Watching Huberdeau's in-game tribute that followed his record-breaking point, Trocheck said the 1:25 video felt more like 20 minutes as he watched his friend's career flash before his eyes.

"There's a lot of people in this world that you personally feel happy for whenever they accomplish something as great as he did, and he's one of those people for me," said Trocheck, who drives to the arena with Huberdeau for most home games.

"He's a great person and obviously a phenomenal hockey player. He's become one of my best friends over the seven years that we've been together. He was a groomsman in my wedding. It was almost a tearjerker seeing him do what he did. It was a special moment."

With Huberdeau's milestone now in their rearview, the next "special moment" on deck is clear.

Playoffs.

Having only reached the postseason once as teammates back in 2016, players like Barkov, Trocheck and Huberdeau are eager to not only get back to the promised land, but to get there together. And just past the midway point of the 2019-20 season, they feel like they're on track.

Walking away win wins in nine of their last 13 games, the Panthers (24-16-5) are currently in possession of the second wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. Additionally, they also trail the Maple Leafs by just one point for third place in the Atlantic Division with one game in hand.

And with 37 games left to play, the hunt for a playoff spot is only just beginning to heat up.

"We've had the same core for a while," said Huberdeau, who leads the team with 61 points (18 goals, 43 assists) and will be heading to his first NHL All-Star Game later this month. "Now, we want to win. We want to get into the playoffs and that's where it will be a lot more fun."

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