Huberdeau ‘excited’ to be reunited with junior coach Gallant

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The Florida Panthers hiring of Gerard Gallant as head coach is cause for a reunion with young star Jonathan Huberdeau.

Gallant coached Huberdeau with the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL and the two won a pair of Memorial Cup titles together. As you might expect, the 21-year-old forward is happy to be back with his old coach as George Richards of the Miami Herald shared.

“I’m excited for this,” Huberdeau said. “He’s a guy who is intense and into the game. He keeps you up throughout the game. I think the guys are going to react to him. He wants what is best for the players.”

In three seasons at Saint John under Gallant (165 games), Huberdeau had 88 goals and 212 points in the regular season and another 69 points (37 goals) in 55 playoff games. Those kinds of numbers are hard to ignore and the Panthers will hope the new coach can rekindle the young forward’s offensive game.

Huberdeau struggled this season with just nine goals and 28 points in 69 games. The Panthers will need a lot more than that out of the third overall pick in the 2011 NHL Draft if they’re going to climb in the Eastern Conference.