For many, many reasons—it’s safe to say that Jonathan Huberdeau will not look back at his first season with the Calgary Flames very fondly.
Despite being the team’s biggest offseason acquisition and signing the biggest contract in franchise history, Huberdeau went on to have one of his least productive seasons in his career. In fact, he is on pace to match the same amount of production as his first full career NHL season in 2014–15.
That’s just upsetting. Not just for Huberdeau, but for the organization and its fans who had such a feverous excitement around him heading into the season.
Now of course the bounce back next season is lined up. There is no way that this season is the norm for Huberdeau. Whether or not he can hit his record-breaking season from 2021–22 remains to be seen, but a point increase is surely an easy bet to make.
Unfortunately, during the process of this season’s disastrous run, Huberdeau set truly one of the saddest NHL records that could exist.
The record for the biggest point drop
A few months ago, we took a look at what the NHL record was for biggest drops in point production from one season to the next. At the time, Huberdeau was projected to have 56 points on the season at his current production. We truly thought at the time there was a slim chance that Huberdeau would continue on his production trend. Unfortunately that was not the case.
In 79 games this season, Huberdeau scored 55 points—15 goals and 40 assists—which was a drop of 60 points from last year where he had 30 goals and 85 assists. This set the new NHL record of the largest drop and marks the first time in nearly two decades a drop of over 40 points even happened.
|Player||Season Coverage||GP||First Season||Second Season||Point Drop|
|Jonathan Huberdeau||2022–23||80 vs 79||115||55||-60|
|Bill Barber||1976–77||80 vs 73||112||55||-57|
|Dennis Maruk||1982–83||80 vs 80||136||81||-55|
|Bob MacMillan||1979–80||79 vs 77||108||61||-47|
|Reggie Leach||1976–77||80 vs 77||91||46||-45|
|Chuck Lefley||1976–77||75 vs 71||85||41||-44|
|Sergei Fedorov||1996–97||78 vs 74||107||63||-44|
|Mats Naslund||1989–90||77 vs 72||84||41||-43|
|Pete Mahovlich||1976–77||80 vs 76||105||62||-43|
|Vaclav Nedomansky||1980–81||79 vs 74||74||32||-42|
|Wayne Gretzky||1991–92||78 vs 74||163||121||-42|
|Joe Mullen||1989–90||79 vs 78||110||69||-41|
|Mike Modano||2003–04||79 vs 76||85||44||-41|
|Andre Boudrias||1975–76||77 vs 71||78||38||-40|
|Brian MacLellan||1985–86||80 vs 78||85||45||-40|
|Bryan Trottier||1982–83||80 vs 80||129||89||-40|
|Jean Pronovost||1976–77||80 vs 79||104||64||-40|
Now of course there are a lot of factors at play here that influenced Huberdeau’s drop off. A new team, a new city, a completely new system, and brand new linemates that rapidly changed. His deployment was also continuously in question, playing most of the season on his off-wing in a defensive role he wasn’t used to.
We may be making excuses here, but Huberdeau completely changed the way he played the game that made him so successful in the first place.
The most shocking influence on this new record? His offensive generation.
Huberdeau shooting percentage is a similar rate from last year. His 13.5% was above-average for his career, but his 12.2% shooting percentage is in line with his average. The difference is that last season he took around 100 more shots in the same amount of games. That shouldn’t just happen overnight. That is a massive misunderstanding of how to use Huberdeau properly.
Looking forward to next year
The season may be over, but this is a record that will live in infamy for Huberdeau. There is also no one that will be more motivated to prove everyone wrong than himself starting with next season.
A Huberdeau bounce back may be just what this team needs to get back into the conversation of being Stanley Cup contenders.