Jonathan Huberdeau’s production in 2024 has been what the doctor ordered

Jeff Middleton
25 days ago
The point drop-off from Jonathan Huberdeau’s last season with the Florida Panthers under the combined coaching of Joel Quenneville and Andrew Brunette to his first season with the Calgary Flames under Darryl Sutter was the biggest in NHL history. From 85 assists alone and 115 total points to 55 points, Flames fans couldn’t believe that was the state of what was supposed to be their new star player.
To start the 2023-24 season, it was more of the same, leading fans to believe that the head coaching change to Ryan Huska wasn’t going to do much for Huberdeau’s production.
However, since the beginning of the new year, Huberdeau has been an above-average producer on the offensive side of the puck, which is about the best news anyone can ask for.
In 2024, Huberdeau has registered 28 points in 33 games with a 10.9% shooting percentage so far. Over the course of a full season, that’s 69 points, which would have been his highest total since 2019-20 (excluding his fantastic last season with Florida). For reference, in the first 36 games of the season, Huberdeau scored a measly 16 points with a shooting percentage of 6.3%.
It took a long time for the overall team to find their groove, but once Huberdeau was put on a line with newcomer Yegor Sharangovich and former Flame Elias Lindholm (now it’s Andrei Kuzmenko), he fell into stride.
Some fans were worried that Huberdeau would not be able to continue his production, or at the very least, wanted to see the production over a larger sample size to be confident in saying that Huberdeau might be returning to form. Of course, 69 points for a $10.5 million player is still not nearly good enough. I don’t think anyone would argue with that premise. But, paying that much money for Huberdeau to be a point-per-game player (or close to it) is much better for both the Flames and the fans than it is for Huberdeau to be a “16 points in 36 games” kind of player.
With 12 games remaining in the Flames season, Huberdeau still has some time to surpass his previous season’s total of 55 points in 79 games. He currently sits at 44 points in 69 games. But some might wonder, even with his pace so far in the back half of this season, why is his point total so low?
Well, analytics would argue that it shouldn’t be as low as it is.
Below is his regularized adjusted plus-minus chart from Evolving-Hockey. His goals for per 60 (GF/60) are slightly below the average, while both his expected goals for per 60 (xGF/60) and Corsi for per 60 (CF/60) are well above average.
For some further analytical differences, let’s take a look at his isolated impacts from HockeyViz.
Here is his visual from this season:
And here is his visual from the 2022-23 season:
The main thing that I’ve taken away from these graphics is that the defence is about where it’s likely to be for the remainder of his career (and has been for his career prior to Calgary), but the offensive results he ended with last season were a direct result of his poor underlying numbers. This season, especially within the new year, the process has been much better, and even though he may not end with many more points than 2022-23, the foundation he is building within Huska’s system is much better for his future production outlook.
So, while Huberdeau’s start to the season wasn’t ideal, just as the entire team’s wasn’t, the new year has been kind to the Flames’ highest-paid player in both the analytics and the box score. As the curtains on Calgary’s season come closer to closing, Huberdeau has certainly rebounded. Now, it’s just about continuing to build on it over the next 12 games and into next year.
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