Saint John Sea Dogs v Mississauga St. Michael's Majors

2011 Draft Profile: Jonathan Huberdeau

No one has shot up the draft rankings over the last 12 months like Jonathan Huberdeau. He’s a player who really doesn’t have any weaknesses to his game. On one hand, he might be the most dependable, 2-way player in the entire draft. On the other hand, he can be absolutely electrifying when he has the puck on his stick. He can create offensive for himself with a very good shot; but he’s even better when he’s setting up teammates with great vision. He’ll only improve as he continues to fill out into his 6’1” frame.

As great as his hockey skills have proven to be over the course of the year, Huberdeau took the leap into the draft’s elite prospects with his outstanding play in the QMJHL playoffs. He raised his game when the stakes where the highest as he lead the talented Sea Dogs to a QMJHL championship and Memorial Cup victory. If he can put on some muscle over the summer, he could be on an NHL roster on opening night.

Height: 6’1”
Weight: 170 lbs
Position: Center
Team: Saint John (QMJHL)

  • 2009-10: 15 goals and 20 assists (35 points) in 61 games
  • 2010-11: 43 goals and 62 assists (105 points) in 67 games



From NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau

“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. He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability . . . he’s also gritty and does not back down when challenged.”

From International Scouting Services:

“He is a complete player; a great combination of work ethic, skill, competitiveness and hockey sense. He contributes at both ends of the rink. He is an offensive threat whenever he touches the ice; he creates scoring chances with good 1 on 1 ability, vision, passing and he can score. The type of player you win with.”

Goalie nods: Niemi expected for Stars against Penguins

Antti Niemi, Jonathan Toews
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Talk about getting thrown into the fire.

Antti Niemi is expected to be the starting goalie tonight in Dallas when his Stars host Sidney Crosby, Phil Kessel, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Niemi has, not surprisingly, been given the assignment over Kari Lehtonen, the latter of whom struggled badly during the preseason, allowing 15 goals on 84 shots.

Not that Niemi was razor sharp himself. He allowed eight goals on 65 shots, for a save percentage of .877.

Considering the Stars have a combined $10.4 million in cap space tied up in those two veteran netminders, it’s no wonder the number-one question facing the club is whether the goaltending has indeed been fixed.

We’ll start to find out tonight.

Marc-Andre Fleury will undoubtedly be in goal for Pittsburgh, though that hasn’t been confirmed.


Craig Anderson, the goalie the Senators decided to keep, versus Robin Lehner, the one they traded to the Sabres.

Cam Ward will start for Carolina when the Hurricanes visit the Predators, who will obviously go with Pekka Rinne. The consensus is that Eddie Lack will eventually supplant Ward as Carolina’s starter, but that apparently hasn’t happened yet.

Brian Elliott goes for the Blues versus Cam Talbot for the Oilers. Elliott was excellent in the preseason, stopping all but two of the 57 shots he faced, while Jake Allen allowed six goals on 60 shots.

Steve Mason for the Flyers versus Ben Bishop for the Lightning.

Ondrej Pavelec for Winnipeg versus Tuukka Rask for Boston.

Devan Dubnyk likely for the Wild versus Semyon Varlamov for the Avs.

Flyers want to prove doubters wrong

Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux
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Jakub Voracek totally understands why nobody’s expecting much from the Philadelphia Flyers. When a team finishes 14 points out of the playoffs the year before, that’s typically going to be the case.

“We weren’t good enough last year, let’s face it,” Voracek told CSN Philly. 

So, no, it doesn’t upset him that the Flyers aren’t considered among the Stanley Cup favorites.

That being said, “it makes you feel you want to prove them wrong.”

The Flyers get going tonight with a tough game against the Lightning in Tampa Bay. They also play Saturday in Florida against the Panthers, before a rematch with the Panthers Monday in Philadelphia.

“My biggest concern would be getting off to a good start,” GM Ron Hextall said. “That’s one thing that we need to do.”

That’s something they didn’t do last year. In fact, they won just once in their first six games. By the end of November, they were 8-12-3 and in a big hole — one that proved too deep to climb out of.

Related: Flyers to start season with seven defensemen