Reigning Calder Trophy winner Jonathan Huberdeau was parked for the final 17:22 of Florida’s 4-2 win over the Islanders on Tuesday, and acknowledged he saw the move coming.
“I understood why [head coach Peter Horachek] didn’t want me on the ice,” Huberdeau said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “It’s a learning process.
“I’ve been digging a hole, being negative all the time. I just need to keep positive. It’s good that the team is winning.”
Huberdeau, goalless in his last 14 games, had a rough outing against New York, taking a pair of penalties and turning over a puck that led to Thomas Vanek’s third-period marker.
The 20-year-old center is suffering through a sophomore slump, and his production has fallen off considerably. He won the Calder on the strength of 31 points through the lockout-shortened ’13 campaign but, with just 17 points through 44 games this year, is on pace for 31 again this season — over an 82-game schedule, not 48.
Horachek said the only way Huberdeau was going to see more minutes was through added effort.
“[Huberdeau’s] time is earned, right now he’s going through a tough time,” he explained. “We’re asking him to work harder because he’s feeling the pressure of not scoring.”