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Jonathan Huberdeau

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I Still Can’t Believe The Panthers Traded Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau
I still can’t believe the Florida Panthers traded Jonathan Huberdeau. Bill Zito made his team worse and it’s undeniable. (Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images)

I Still Can’t Believe The Panthers Traded Jonathan Huberdeau

I have a confession for everyone; I still haven’t processed the Matthew Tkachuk / Jonathan Huberdeau trade. It makes even less sense after the Flames reached an extension with Huberdeau so quickly. I don’t know what Bill Zito does in his free time but I think we need him drug tested for the hard stuff. I still can’t get over the fact that they traded Huberdeau AND MacKenzie Weegar AND more.

Oh, Trey, you’re being too hard on Zito. The Panthers just won the President’s Trophy. Clearly, the guy knows what he’s doing. Okay, fine. Then riddle me this… when the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary comes out about how Bill Zito lost his mind, I don’t want to hear it. This man somehow built a juggernaut contender and totally blew it over the course of five months. It’s just a fact.

Think about what Zito has just done with this roster. Zito has now traded Three first round picks, Huberdeau, Weegar, two prospects, a third rounder, and fourth rounder. In return that got him two months of Claude Giroux, two months of Ben Chariot (neither whom Zito even tried to keep), and Matthew Tkachuk. I’m sorry, that’s not doing your job. I love Tkachuk but Zito is totally whacked out.

It doesn’t even make sense. How do you trade all of that and all you’re left with is Tkachuk? The best part is we all know why Zito did this. His team got exposed against Tampa in the postseason and wanted to get tougher. The problem is, he totally screwed his team in the process and they got worse. Way worse.

We’re talking about a guy that’s coming off a 115-point season and they gave him away like he didn’t matter. Huberdeau isn’t a perfect player but you can make the case he’s one of the best pure playmakers in the entire NHL. We also know the chemistry he has with Aleksander Barkov is off the charts. Huberdeau and Barkov complimented each other about as well as it gets. Huberdeau is a magician with his passing touch while Barkov can carry the puck and do the dirty things to set up the rest of the offense.

I’m so happy JFresh came out with these passing metrics because the eye test totally matches what the data is telling you. The fact of the matter is Huberdeau is the chain that links the Panthers’ offense together. An offense that averaged 4.11 goals per game a year ago. Does anybody want to take a bet that number goes down this year?

Jhan Hockey (free to view today only) put together a little bit of a film study that you can watch Huberdeau work. I highly encourage you to watch it because it’s spot on. He’s so good at creating those angles and understanding where the puck needs to be so his guy has the best chance to score. Huberdeau is also one of the biggest reasons why Florida was so dangerous off the rush. He’s not a pure puck carrier but he’s great at feeding teammates and getting up the ice to create scoring chances. You don’t just replace Jonathan Huberdeau.

I love Tkachuk. I would have moved mountains to go get him but you don’t do it by getting rid of your best passer and best overall defensemen. Yeah, I said it. Weegar is better than Aaron Ekblad. The Florida Panthers will be way worse this year. Keep in mind, they already lost Anthony Duclair for most of next season too.

This trade just has such a stench on it already. Huberdeau won’t put up the same point production without Barkov on his side. Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli simply can’t do the things that Barkov does carrying the puck. Tkachuk won’t fling passes across the ice the way Huberdeau did. We know why Zito did this trade but it reeks and smells like a general manager that didn’t actually watch his team play. His head coach Andrew Brunette got dog walked in the playoffs and he’s blaming Huderdeau for not being tough enough on the forecheck.

Congratulations Tampa Bay, you’re officially a dynasty. Dynasties don’t just win titles. They cause their rivals to make mistakes by extending their window. That’s exactly what happened. The Panthers won’t be a bad team this year but they won’t be nearly as dangerous as a year ago.

I need Bill Zito drug tested right now for the hard stuff. I hate the trade from a production stand point for both sides. On Florida’s side, it’s way less understandable because just simply running this back and making the necessary adjustments needed (getting rid of Radko Gudas and finding a creative trade for Bobrovsky – can I interest you in Erik Karlsson?) could have resulted in a Stanley Cup winning season.

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