FTHM IV: JONATHAN HUBERDEAU

Jonathan Huberdeau can play centre or wing and he’s billed by amateur scouts as being a mix of grit and skill. He’s also been hotter than a 3$ pistol with the Saint John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL playoffs. Think the Edmonton Oilers might want and need a player like that?

The question is, does Huberdeau grade out and project as a prospect worthy of the No. 1 pick at the NHL Entry Draft in Minnesota June 24-25? Can Huberdeau make a case for being the top pick with a strong playoff performance in the same way Taylor Hall cemented his place as the top dog a year ago?

I talked with Edmonton’s chief scout Stu MacGregor about Huberdeau and got his assessment of the Saint John forward. I’ve added items and comments from Central Scouting Service, courtesy of NHL.com, although there are other scouting services, such as ISS, that can be referenced for more rankings and comments on Huberdeau.

I did likewise for Gabriel Landeskog Wednesday and will do the same for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Sean Couturier, the top-rated remaining North American skaters, as well as Adam Larsson, the top-rated skater among European players, in coming days.

THE SKINNY FROM CSS

Jonathan Huberdeau

North American Skater

Saint John, QMJHL

Final Rank: 3 Midterm Rank: 4

Position: Center Shoots: Left

Height: 6′ 1" Weight: 170

Born: June 4, 1993 Hometown: Laval, QC

Born in: Saint-Jerome, QC, CAN

NHL Central Scouting’s Chris Bordeleau

"He’s the type of player who can change the outcome of a game suddenly and quickly. He has displayed unbelievably quick hands and an ability to set up and score goals. He definitely has NHL hands and playmaking ability . . . he’s also gritty and does not back down when challenged."

— Huberdeau helped Saint John to a first round playoff sweep of Cape Breton, recording five goals and 12 points (5-7-12) in four games. During the regular season, the Sea Dogs tied the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League record for most wins in a season with 58 and went undefeated at home in regulation (32-0-1-1) to enter the 2011 playoffs as the top-seeded team in the QMJHL.

— In 2010-11, he finished third in the QMJHL with 105 points (43-62–105) in 67 games and set new single-season club records for Saint John in points and assists. His plus-59 rating ranked first in the league.

MACGREGOR’S TAKE

Scouting Report: "He’s got hockey sense, skill and vision."

Projection: "A very solid second-line player. It depends where he plays. He plays wing now, but he played centre when he first came into the league. What will he be in the NHL? He could be a centre."

Best Case Scenario: "He could be a first-line player."

Concerns: "He’s only 170 pounds. He needs to get stronger to be able to take his game forward and be able to play in the areas that he likes to play in, which is in and around the net."

Listen to Robin Brownlee Wednesdays and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Jason Gregor Show on TEAM 1260.

  • Good cases can be made for all i’m sure . Coutourier , Larsson and Landeskop we do not have to worry about size , as all i’m sure will just get bigger and better down the line ! How many Coutouriers can we possibly pass up on that seem to fit the mold and size the Oilers would like to go with down the middle ? Despite Coutouriers slight drop in rankings due to health reasons as much as anything , he offers more than the others in the way of a big centerman ! Larsson is best suited for next season and may very well be best of group down the line . Due to nature and depth of this years group , it would be a good year not to pass up on what might be a franchise defenseman or big centerman ! Due to Coutourier going down in rankings, this maybe a good year for a daily double hit for Oilers with use of trade and/or trading of our second and third pick to move down in draft ?

      • In the past 5 years the Oilers have acquired Pronger, Lubo, Whitney, and Pitkanen via trade. Each play huge minutes, move the puck, and 3 of them are former lotto picks.

        We have the worst defense in the league because 1 cried like a girl to be traded, 1 healthy one was traded for the other injured one, and 1 was moved out when the GM played a shell game with Carolina that saw us walk to the table with Pitkanen and walk away with O’Sullivan. Mix in a little Sheldon Souray magic and some Tom Gilbert surprises and voila, a recipe for a poor defense.

  • Mantastic

    @ Madjam

    Agreed
    That’s what I’m proposing to do with Gagner, or whatever combination of player draft pick’s to get into the top 5 and get two quality picks, let’s shorten this re-build.

  • Again, all the more reason to try and trade up in the draft. Possible grab that center man and possible a D-man.

    Side note; still can’t believe Tambo said with a straight face he doesn’t expect to be in a lottery situation again next year!

    I think Arch just explained why we won’t be, the best explanation why I heard in yet.

  • This could be a transition year out of the basement if they get going on resizing transition . Vandevelde ,Landers and Hartekainen may be pencilled in for starters . This years draftees , depending on whom Oilers choose might be step in that direction as well. How many of diminutive status personnel beyond Gagner and Eberle may be kept long term ? Cogs ,Omark, Reddox and Brule status questionable along with the likes of Jones and Fraser . Now they can all play in a limlited roll , just not all on the same team as we found out . What’s the long range plans for Hemsky , Horcoff , Khabby and Souray ? Jacques , Stortini , MacIntyre staying or going ? Strudwick and rest of questionable defence that has questionable skill , physicality and prone to injuries ? Special teams ?

    You’d have to think Oilers will be prioritizing / experimenting to rid itself of dimiutive status and physicality going into this season !

      • NastyNate

        Our size limits our ability to compete adequately within our own division . We will remain basement dwellers as long as we remain so . You want to draft size with skill like everyone else is doing . I’m not substituting skill for size wanting to get bigger , so why do some of you people make stupid conclusions that i do . Has the last 5 years not taught you that size is a big problem on our teams ability to compete on a level basis with other big clubs in our own division ? Are Larsson , Coutourier etc . without skill – of course not – so why do some of you try and make it sound like they are !!

        Why not reach out and try and “kill two birds” with one stone if both are almost equal ? Might make more sense for some of you to at least figure out and admit what some of the problems are that need fixing . How many problems does RNHopkins begin to fix anyways ? You don’t know you just hope he’ll be another Gretsky type . Chances of that are not very good to begin with .

        I guess the big clubs going into the final four again this season is a good reason not to draft size ? Size doen’t matter if you don’t care to be competitive .

        • Clyde Frog

          Lol…

          Playoff Scoring leaders as of right now:

          1. Martin St.Lous – 5 8″ 174 pounds

          2. Vincent Lecavalier – 6 4″ 204 pounds

          3. Steve Downie – 5 11″ 194 pounds

          4. Patrice Bergeron – 6 2″ 194 pounds

          5. Claude Girioux – 5 11″ 172 pounds

          6. Ryan Kesler – 6 2″ 202 pounds

          7. Teddy Purcell – 6 2″ 201 pounds

          8. Alex Ovechkin – 6 3″ 233 pounds

          9. Brad Marchand – 5 9″ 183 pounds

          10. Mike Cammelari – 5 9″ 182 pounds

          Okay these are the kids who have put up the most points at the HARDEST time to put up points…. See a trend?

          Only 1 gentleman is even over 210 pounds and he falls into the generational player category.

          Average weight 194 pounds, a target RNH should be able to hit with a 6 foot frame. I just don’t get the crying about his weight when he has plenty of years to pack it on.

          Yeah Madjam, your thoughts are totally based on fact… Yup for reals and stuff.

          Also the point is these kids ARE NOT equal, if anything this article should give you a feel for how not equal they all are. There is no runaway stat pushing them apart but to think that the scouts can’t discern a diffirence is a joke.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          You were also the guy that put up about 349,483 posts about drafting Gudblllllindson rather then Hall, so I wouldn’t be taking myself too seriously if I were you.

    • Clyde Frog

      Lol… Just lol.. Long range plans for Khaby, Horcoff and Souray? Truly did you just ask that?

      If you don’t know what those are.. Well there is no hope.

      If after everything you have seen you still dream of Larsson lacing his skates up as #1, I think we can safely put you 100% in the category of internet troll.

      The Oilers are looking to put the best team on the ice, last I checked you win games by scoring more… Picking kids with low ceilings because they like to get their elbows up in the corner and are over 6 feet tall is NOT the way to win.

      #1 pick, choose the kid with the heighest percieved ceiling, develop, support and provide him any and all opportunities you can.

      So far it definitely looks like RNH will be that pick from the interviews so far.

  • Look I’ve tried arguing against Archeologuy before… you just can’t.

    Plus, everytime I see that Harrison Ford picture I sometimes think it’s actually Indiana Jones giving his advice/stats. NO ONE in their right mind would EVER argue with Indy…

    …well except Henry Jones Sr