Huberdeau talks new Panthers coach Maurice, career season


The league’s leading assist provider talks Florida’s next plans and the use of ball hockey in offseason conditioning.

In the “Sitting Down with…” Q&A segment on, we speak with influential players to learn more about their careers and personal lives. The Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau, who tied for second place in the NHL with 115 points and led the League with 85 assists this season, is the featured player in this special Stanley Cup Playoffs edition.

Quebec’s LAVAL — There are usually changes during the NHL offseason. One month after being swept by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference Second Round, the Florida Panthers have a new head coach in Paul Maurice, who takes over for Andrew Brunette.


Forward Jonathan Huberdeau expressed his excitement in representing Maurice.

Saying farewell to your coach is never simple, according to Huberdeau. “Brunette performed admirably this year as well, but adding Paul is just going to be fantastic. We can’t wait to speak with him and learn more about his philosophy because, clearly, the way he managed the Winnipeg [Jets] was excellent. He kind of left instead of being fired, you know (resigning on Dec. 17). And I’m just eager to speak with him, learn about his experience, and hear what he has to say.”

Huberdeau’s summer days will change as the team begins to adopt a new defensive approach and coaching system for a team that surely knows a thing or two about scoring goals after leading the NHL with 337 goals this season. Some of those days will be spent playing ball hockey to keep the mind hockey-sharp after breaking a Panthers record for points this season, with the added benefit of cardio since, as he explained with a smirk, “you can’t really glide so you have to run all the time.”


Between now and training camp in September, Huberdeau will visit the ball hockey rinks in his own province a few times to play in a few 4-on-4 games with friends or a small tournament or two. The 5-on-5 match he saw Thursday at Place Bell, where the 2022 World Ball Hockey Championships will be held, is a touch different from the version he’ll play. That competition was put on by the International Street and Ball Hockey Federation. Additionally, it differs from the manner he used to play when growing up in nearby Saint-Jerome.

Every child plays street hockey growing up and it’s so much fun, but clearly this is more organized, said Huberdeau, who has been participating in the more organized form for roughly eight years. “We didn’t have this kind of league when I was a kid. It’s excellent that the game is expanding in Quebec, but I think a lot more young people ought to play it. It’s more approachable, in my opinion. The majority of people can run because there is less equipment. Although skating is a little more difficult, I still think it’s a terrific sport. And it seems like it’s accessible to a lot of folks.”

Huberdeau is committed to promoting the sport both inside and outside of Quebec. He is a brand ambassador for the ball hockey equipment firm Knapper. Prior to going down to the Canada men’s team’s locker room for a pregame pep talk before they faced Greece, he was available to talk to and sign autographs for fans, which he acknowledges meant a lot to him. Afterward, Huberdeau was interviewed by to talk about a variety of subjects, including the season that just ended and the arrival of Maurice.


Just now, Panthers coach Paul Maurice was presented. What do you think of him and the coaching skills he possesses?

“He clearly has a wealth of knowledge. I believe it will benefit us the following year. I believe you require experience.”

When you competed for Canada at the 2014 IIHF World Championship, he served as the team’s coach. What do you recall about that encounter?


“Despite being an assistant coach, he was rather composed. He can talk really well and gives really good speeches, in my opinion, which makes him a fantastic coach. I’ll inquire around and find out how he is. We always welcome input, of course, but everything I’ve heard about him has been positive.”

How crucial is having a seasoned coach in the NHL?

“It is crucial, particularly for our team. We’re a little younger, and this year, undoubtedly, taught us a lot. Our leadership is experienced. We have the same core, so I believe he can join us and the assistant coach in helping, but I believe it’s a guy with a lot of experience who will help. It is evident. Paul, who has expertise as a coach, I believe will treat us the same way.”


It’s been a few weeks since you last played. What are your general impressions of this season’s events?

“We had a fantastic year, definitely. We gained a lot of knowledge. Obviously, the playoffs didn’t go as planned, but I believe we now understand that we are a playoff club. This year, we made the playoffs, lost in the second round, but at least we won the first round for the organization (against the Washington Capitals in six games), and I believe it will only benefit us. We’ll return the next year since we are more assured. We are certain that we can qualify for the playoffs and get a good slot. After that, it’s only a matter of playing more attentively and becoming a stronger team during the playoffs.”

00:39 • May 7th, 2022 Huberdeau scores the first goal.


It is frequently mentioned that learning to overcome obstacles and persevere, much like the Tampa Bay Lightning has done, is a process. Given that your team is younger, how significant was it for them to go to the playoffs, win a round, overcome challenges, and enter the next season?

“Every squad, in my opinion, experiences that. After being swept by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay went on to win two straight Stanley Cups. You may occasionally need something similar to occur in order to boost your confidence. I believe that we are a little bit playing on our toes and that you don’t play with as much confidence as Tampa does. They are unconcerned. You can tell since they won back-to-back [Cup titles]. All you have to do is play the game, block shots, pay attention to the small details, and trust [Andrei] Vasilevskiy to make the saves. There are numerous details. That is what we must do.”

You personally had a career year and were on several ballots for the Hart Trophy, given by the Professional Hockey Writers Association to the NHL player deemed most important to his team. What do you think of your season now that it has passed?


“I couldn’t have asked for a worse year for myself. I performed well. I was dependable and a strong leader. But clearly, it was simply the way the playoffs went, and I learnt a lot. I didn’t play my best hockey (five points; one goal, four assists in 10 postseason games), but I believe it’s clear that the playoffs are usually more difficult, and you have to cope with that as well as learn from it. It never… it’s never going to go your way when you make the playoffs. The following year, he’ll simply become a better, better player. Additionally, I want to continue doing what I accomplished this year into the playoffs.”

Pegoutam Saini

Pegoutam saini, A part-time blogger and the founder of, He has written on a variety of topics. He can be found sitting blankly in front of a Word document outside of work, feverishly trying to compose the opening chapters of a new novel.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.