Johnny Hockey vs. Johnny Hockey
Despite the chaotic last five months, it seems as if Panther fans are more excited than ever to finally watch the talented and dynamic 20-year-old, Jonathan Huberdeau. Since the lockout has been lifted, most of the players have reported back to sunny South Florida, including Huberdeau who made a surprise appearance at Saveology Iceplex yesterday morning.
Over the past few days, my boss Frank and I have been trying to muster up the perfect term to describe the Panthers newest addition, Jonathan Huberdeau. In lieu of Johnny Manziel (“Johnny Football”) given the honor as the first freshman to ever win the Heisman, Frank thought it was appropriate to keep it simple and name our very own rookie, “Johnny Hockey”. Unfortunately for us, “Johnny Hockey”, has already been coined by Huberdeau’s fellow hockey mate and Team USA rival, Jonathan Gaudreau.
Just like any sport, there will always be that one rival whom you are always compared to. So we decided to create a rivalry between the Panthers very own Johnny Hockey (Jonathan Huberdeau) and the original Johnny Hockey (Jonathan Gaudreau). Both of these young talents are exceptional athletes who have been given a gift, the gift of good hands, good feet, and intelligence. But it’s up to the fans to decide who will be named, the REAL Johnny Hockey.
It’s tough for guys like Gaudreau who are exceptionally smaller than everyone else to ever be considered a key component in any team’s franchise. But every once in a while one of them shocks the vast hockey world and makes a name for himself. And this Johnny Hockey proved his worth when he was drafted 104th overall in the 2011 NHL entry draft by the Calgary Flames.
Prior to being drafted by the Flames, Gaudreau tore up the United States Hockey League where he played for the Dubuque Fighting Saints. In just 60 games, Jonathan tallied 72 points which was good enough to earn him USHL Rookie of the year, as well as the honor of winning the Clark Cup which is given to the USHL champions. Later that year, Gaudreau attended the Flames training camp but already committed to the Boston College men’s hockey team where he would play with Michael Matheson, the Florida Panthers newest prospect. That year Jonathan scored a whopping, 21 goals, and 23 assists in just 44 games with the BC Eagles. He was also a key component in Boston College’s victories in both the Frozen Four AND the infamous “Beanpot” tournament, where he was named MVP for BOTH tournaments as only a freshman.
In 2013, Gaudreau was selected to play for Team USA in the U-20 World Junior Championship. His team went on to win a gold medal, beating Team Sweden 3-1 in the finals. He was named to the “All-Star” team for leading all of Team USA in points with 7 goals and 2 assists.
Now that the lockout has ended, Jonathan Gaudreau plans to remain in college where he has already begun his sophomore year with the BC Eagles putting up 26 points in just 15 games.
As I mentioned earlier, the Florida Panthers have a Johnny Hockey of their own, and he is this seasons most anticipated player. Jonathan Huberdeau is not only talented, but he has something special. Something unique. Players like him do not come around often. He is known for his creativity that not many players posses, as well as the hand-eye coordination of a hawk.
While Jonathan Gaudreau was working his magic in the USHL, Jonathan Huberdeau was the star of the QMJHL putting up massive numbers. In the 2010-2011 season, Huberdeau played for the Saint John Sea Dogs where he finished 3rd in the league in scoring with 105 points in just 67 games (43-62-105). That same year he was given the honor of being named to the QMJHL First All-Star Team as well as MVP of the Memorial Cup Tournament, helping his team win the championship.
Following the 2011 QMJHL season, Jonathan Huberdeau was ranked 3rd amongst NHL Central Scouting, making him one of the most sought after guys for the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. And just as Central Scouting predicted, Huberdeau was selected 3rd overall by the Florida Panthers. At the start of the 2012 NHL season, Huberdeau was invited to the Panthers training camp where he would lead the team in scoring for all of pre-season. But just like Gaudreau, Huberdeau was too small in size, and was sent back to the QMJHL to start the new season, but this time as the Sea Dogs newest captain.
But with a new (and shortened) season, comes new opportunities. A few pounds heavier and a whole year older, our Johnny Hockey is looking to make the NHL roster once and for all.
It’s still yet to be determined whom the REAL Johnny Hockey is as both boys have impressive resumes. Fortunately for Panther fans, we will get the first shot to see if our Johnny Hockey will come out on top as he is set to attend our NHL training camp once again this year.
Who do you think will come out on top?
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