Draft Profile: Jonathan Huberdeau

There was a goal scored at this year’s Memorial Cup I’ll remember for a long time. It was an absolute beauty, Jonathan Huberdeau going shelf with a shot that one imagines would have counted in any league. Huberdeau’s rise through the draft rankings this year was the stuff of legends. We’re used to seeing kids take time to establish themselves at the top of the draft, but Huberdeau’s rise was pure Hale-Bopp.

Huberdeau did not appear on Bob McKenzie’s early rankings and was not on Red Line’s radar. By January, Huberdeau was parked at #9 on McKenzie’s list but miles from the lottery.

As of right now, BM suggests Huberdeau is on the outskirts of the top 2, with a strong chance his name will be called in the top 3 at the entry draft. It’s been quite a ride for Huberdeau, and some of us can’t help thinking about that sniper’s touch displayed at the Memorial Cup.

Kirk Luedeke: He’s the complete package of physical tools, hockey skills and sense with a natural knack for scoring. Versatile; spent most of the season on the left wing, but is a natural center. NHL teams like multi-taskers. He’s also a mature kid who carries himself well and exudes professionalism. There is no reason to think that Huberdeau can’t crack the top-5 in June when all is said and done, but if he doesn’t he’s gone no later than 6 or 7. He reminds us a lot of Luc Robitaille in the way he comes off during interviews, and we can’t imagine he’s going to drop much if at all when the draft comes.

ISS: He is a complete player, a great combination of work ethic, skill competitiveness and hockey sense.

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.”

One of Huberdeau’s strongest points is his EV points-per-game. We need to remember that he played on the best CHL team in the land, but there’s a story here:

  1. Jonathan Huberdeau 67gp, 27-43-70 1.04
  2. Ryan Strome 65gp, 22-42-64 .985
  3. Sean Couturier 58gp, 23-32-55 .948
  4. Gabriel Landeskog 53gp, 24-23-47 .887
  5. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 69gp, 20-27-47 .681

Huberdeau also scores “in the range” with the other top flight forwards when his numbers are run through Desjardins NHL equivalencies:

  1. Ryan Strome 12-28-40 
  2. Sean Couturier 14-24-38
  3. Ryan Nugent Hopkins 11-27-38 
  4. Jonathan Huberdeau 15-21-36

I believe the Oilers will take the Burnaby kid number one, after a long discussion about Adam Larsson. The other guy in the conversation may be Huberdeau; he had an enormous playoff and showcased his skills on the national stage. He might be the best player in the 2011 entry draft.

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