Calgary Flames

Jonathan Huberdeau is back to his old self, reinvigorated for the 2023–24 season

Jonathan Huberdeau‘s first season with the Calgary Flames did not go the way anyone wanted it to. It was a tumultuous season that the Flames organization has spent considerable effort trying to recover from, the departures of General Manger Brad Treliving and Head Coach Darryl Sutter being at the top of that list.

It is no secret that Huberdeau and Sutter did not see eye-to-eye, and Huberdeau’s opinion was a key piece of information used by management when they selected a new coach, choosing Ryan Huska.

Now that the Flames are entering a new era, it appears that Huberdeau is as excited as ever to prove his doubters wrong and get back to being the elite offensive producer he has been known to be.

Huberdeau showing leadership

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman discussed Huberdeau and the Flames at length on the last 32 Thoughts Podcast. Ever since the changing of the guard in Calgary, Huberdeau has been a priority for the Flames and he has responded in kind. He’s “all about the team” and has taken on a senior leadership role.

Huberdeau has been planning large team events to increase morale and bonding between the players, he called all the new draft picks the Flames selected to offer congratulations and welcome them to the organization, and has gone out of his way to ensure the new guys feel welcome with the team.

The Flames are viewing this as Huberdeau getting over the shock of being traded, as it was a complete surprise to him at the time, and required him uprooting his entire life—which is absolutely phenomenal news.

Huberdeau is “back to his old self”

Most recently, Huberdeau spoke to RDS, TSN’s French network, and was extremely excited about the changes behind the bench and how that will enable him to get back to his normal playing style.

Translated: “I’m happy with all the changes. We are going to have more fun and freedom offensively!”

One of the key criticisms of Sutter’s system was that it stifled offensive creativity, the defining characteristic of Huberdeau’s game. With Huska and Marc Savard now leading the charge offensively, Huberdeau will be able to wheel and deal like he’s used to doing.

This is great news for the team, the player, and fans alike.

Revenge season for Huberdeau

Based on his career thus far, last season very much looks like the outlier for Huberdeau. Now that he’s adjusted to playing and living in Calgary and has the support he needs behind the bench, it could be revenge season for Huberdeau and the Flames.

If there’s one thing you should never bet against it’s raw talent. Huberdeau has oodles of it, and now looks like he has the buy-in and fire to show everyone exactly what he can do. It should be a great season watching number 10 in red.

Photo by Brett Holmes/Icon Sportswire

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