Slumping Huberdeau ‘still learning’

Of all the things that have gone wrong for the Florida Panthers in 2013, Jonathan Huberdeau isn’t one of them.

Still only 19 years old, Huberdeau has 12 goals and nine assists in 34 games, ranking him second in NHL rookie scoring behind Tampa Bay’s Cory Conacher (who’s four years older).

However, with no goals in his last nine games, Huberdeau’s pace has slowed in March.

“I’m still learning. I have a lot to learn,” Huberdeau said this week, per the Miami Herald. “I got off to a hot start but I need to keep going. Things have been slow a bit, but I need to keep going. Keep things simple. You play so many games in the NHL, you can’t be negative if you have a bad game.”

If Huberdeau’s slump has done anything, it’s made the race for the Calder Trophy — something no Florida Panther has ever won, despite all the high draft picks the franchise has had — a lot more interesting.

Top candidates include Huberdeau, Conacher, and a surprise in Montreal forward Brendan Gallagher.

But with plenty of games remaining to impress voters, don’t count out Nail Yakupov, Justin Schultz, Brandon Saad, Jonas Brodin, Dougie Hamilton, or Vladimir Tarasenko.

Top 3 rookie NHL scoring

Cory Conacher — 24 points (9 G, 15 A) in 33 games
Jonathan Huberdeau — 21 points (12 G, 9 A) in 34 games
Brendan Gallagher — 18 points (9 G, 9 A) in 28 games

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