So far, that hasn’t been the case.
Huberdeau’s lack of production
While it’s still “early” in terms of his Flames career, since this is just season one of nine he is under contract for, Huberdeau hasn’t been nearly as good as we were led to believe. After notching 115 points last season—including 30 goals and an NHL record-setting 85 assists—Huberdeau won’t even come close to that total this year.
Last year he netted 1.44 points per game. This season? He is sitting at 0.71. That math doesn’t work out well for a team that is going to pay him $10.5M a season for the next eight years.
This point production drop is so stark, I wondered it if was record breaking: is Huberdeau going to set a record for the biggest season-to-season drop in points?
A historical comparison
This discussion was a hot topic over the last few days, and looking into the numbers a bit further it’s entirely possible that Huberdeau sets a new record.
|Player||Season Coverage||GP||First Season||Second Season||Point Drop|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||2022 – 2023||80 vs 78*||115||56*||-59*|
|Bill Barber||1976 – 1977||80 vs 73||112||55||-57|
|Dennis Maruk||1982 – 1983||80 vs 80||136||81||-55|
|Bob MacMillan||1979 – 1980||79 vs 77||108||61||-47|
|Reggie Leach||1976 – 1977||80 vs 77||91||46||-45|
|Chuck Lefley||1976 – 1977||75 vs 71||85||41||-44|
|Sergei Fedorov||1996 – 1997||78 vs 74||107||63||-44|
|Mats Naslund||1989 – 1990||77 vs 72||84||41||-43|
|Pete Mahovlich||1976 – 1977||80 vs 76||105||62||-43|
|Vaclav Nedomansky||1980 – 1981||79 vs 74||74||32||-42|
|Wayne Gretzky||1991 – 1992||78 vs 74||163||121||-42|
|Joe Mullen||1989 – 1990||79 vs 78||110||69||-41|
|Mike Modano||2003 – 2004||79 vs 76||85||44||-41|
|Andre Boudrias||1975 – 1976||77 vs 71||78||38||-40|
|Brian MacLellan||1985 – 1986||80 vs 78||85||45||-40|
|Bryan Trottier||1982 – 1983||80 vs 80||129||89||-40|
|Jean Pronovost||1976 – 1977||80 vs 79||104||64||-40|
Now, we want to be perfectly clear that there could be some players missing from this list, but the information can be tough to source without going player by player. There are, of course, some players whose production fell off a cliff over multiple seasons, or some whose totals look like they dropped off significantly, but we tried to be as equal as possible.
For example, Phil Esposito had 127 points in 79 games played in the 1974–75 season, and then dropped to 16 the following season. The issue? He only played 12 games. Player situations like this, including lockout seasons, were not considered.
Huberdeau currently has 36 points in 51 games played, good for a 0.71 points per game. That is about a 56-point pace should he continue at his current pace for the remainder of the season, and play in all of the remaining games.
That would account for a whopping 59-point drop year over year, which would set a new NHL record. I can bet this is one that the Flames and Huberdeau would be happy to avoid.
Of course, the chance that Huberdeau stays at this pace based on his historical performance is likely low. Unfortunately, he doesn’t look like he will blow that point pace out of the water and will still find himself on this list in some form.
Here’s hoping for a hot close to the season and a more fruitful eight seasons in the coming years for #10.
Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire