Best Panthers Player Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach 2013 - Jonathan Huberdeau
The Florida Panthers have been an absolute mess. Injuries, bad breaks, and poor play have made the most irrelevant of all local pro teams fade even deeper into the ether. However, if there were ever a reason to start paying attention to the Cats and start readying that bandwagon, it's their goal-scoring, point-amassing, defense-obliterating rookie sensation Jonathan Huberdeau. The Panthers selected Huberdeau third overall in the 2011 NHL draft (one of the benefits of being consistently stinky!), and the results have been pretty consistently kick-ass from the word "go." In his first year with the minor-league Sea Dogs, Huberdeau scored 15 goals and added 20 assists for 35 points in 61 games. In 2011, he led all scorers at the Memorial Cup (the Canadian junior-league championship), signaling he was more than ready to throw down with the big boys. Huberdeau is a virtuoso with a hockey stick in his hands. He can finesse a pinpoint-accurate pass one minute and turn a puck into a lethal heat-seeking missile that annihilates hockey nets the next. In his first pro season with a depleted Panthers team, Huberdeau has been a star. He leads all NHL rookies in points and is a virtual shoo-in for the Calder Trophy, the award given to the league's best rookie. The Panthers are still stuck in the muck of mediocrity. But their future is certainly bright with Jonathan Huberdeau setting fire to the NHL ice with his awesomeness.