The ending of the NHL lockout brought some good news and bad news to the Saint John Sea Dogs.
The good news is that they will likely have a full time player in the National Hockey League this season. The bad news is that they will likely never receive the huge package they would have gotten if the NHL had shut down for the year and forced Jonathan Huberdeau to continue playing junior.
It would be very surprising to see Huberdeau back in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, and given everything Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon has said during the lockout, the Panthers expect the Sea Dogs captain in the NHL for the rest of the year.
@tsnbobmckenzie @kathleenlavoie According to what a member of the Panthers staff tells me, Huberdeau's spot on the team is already set. 100%
— Willy Palov (@CH_WillyPalov) January 7, 2013
Panthers beat writer George Richards:
Yeah that's the plan @chrisgreen21090: he gonna be on the roster come day 1?
— George Richards (@GeorgeRichards) January 6, 2013
Hockey Prospectus’ Cory Pronman on Galchenyuk but same logic applies to Huberdeau:
@arponbasu the ELC argument cant be made in a bubble. He could develop more in NHL. You can delay ELC, but also delay development.
— Corey Pronman (@coreypronman) January 7, 2013
I really don’t see Huberdeau playing another game in this league. He’s played here a few months more than he should have. Even if he struggles with the Panthers and gets off to a slow start, I don’t see how sending him back to the ‘Q’ where he’d dominate every night would help things.
Even though returning to the league is a long shot, it’s hard to imagine there not being a team or two that would be willing to still make a conditional trade with Saint John to acquire Huberdeau’s rights. The rewards if he returned to the league would be huge for the Sea Dogs. The rewards would be great for his new team as well because they’d be getting a big time player for their stretch run. Although the odds of him returning are slim, making a conditional deal seems like the logical way to go.
But hey, maybe nothing will happen tomorrow. We will all just have to wait and see.
The trade deadline is tomorrow at 1pm Atlantic.