The Panthers young gun forward discusses his transition from juniors to the pros, speaking French with Drew Shore, what he likes to do on his off days and more.
Almost two years in the league now, what has been the biggest transition for you been coming from juniors?
Huberdeau - It's a different league. In the NHL, you come in against stronger players and older players. It's really a different game the execution is really difficult to adjust to from juniors. As a player you have to be more consistent. In juniors you will sometimes have some easy games as there are some teams that aren't that good that season. Here, all the teams are good and every game you have to give your best to be able to compete.
Has it been what you expected?
Huberdeau - No of course not. You want to be a big part of a team and I want to be a big part of this team but I haven't had the season that I wanted this season so far. We have 21 more games left so I have to show what I can do, just start slowly and get back at it and just be happy at the end of the season of what I accomplished the last 21 games.
Is there anything that you're focusing on these last 20-plus games?
Huberdeau - I think it's just to keep my game more simple, play better defensively. That's where you have to start with by limiting the turnovers. That's what it starts with, when you play good defensively it seems to always leads to the offensive part of the game. I watch all the guys and some guys have been having great seasons on our team and I try to watch them and do the same little things that they are doing right and keeping it simple. It's frustrating at the same time because last year I did really well and this year it's not the same. I just have to bring my confidence back.
Seeing the other Young Guns such as Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov before he got hurt have the success they are having, how great is it to see this young nucleus start to take shape?
Huberdeau - Yeah. You have to be satisfied with that. It's nice to see. We have a lot of young guys and we're all going to be the future. I think it's important that the young guys do well and it's nice to see those guys have good seasons. Unfortunately for Barkov he got injured but he's had a good season so far. Even Nick, we know he's a good player. He's really fast so he shows that out on the ice. Other players like Jimmy Hayes and Dylan Olsen, they're going to be the future in this organization along with Drew Shore and Erik Gudbranson. There's a lot of young guys.
Rooming with Drew last year, he said he would only speak with you in French, what was that like?
Huberdeau - It was pretty funny. I always tell him to only speak English because I couldn't understand one word he was saying in French. Some sentences it was good and I could understand but it was probably not the proper French he was speaking. I was trying to teach him a little bit. He's fun. He's a good guy and I enjoyed being his roommate last year.
You have an off day. How are you spending it?
Huberdeau - I just try to relax as much as possible and go golfing or go to the beach. It's never the same thing. I try to sleep in too. There are times you will lose your sleep so you try to make it up on your days off.
Any TV shows that you're watching now?
Huberdeau - Breaking Bad. I've been watching that and I'm probably going to start watching Suits.
What's your favorite South Florida hot spot?
Huberdeau - I like Cafe Europa on Los Olas.