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The Florida Panthers sent shockwaves throughout the National Hockey League this past July when they traded assistant captain Jonathan Huberdeau and defenseman MacKenzie Weegar to the Calgary Flames in exchange for gritty forward Matthew Tkachuk; they all soon inked longterm extensions with their new clubs.
And while Tkachuk has enjoyed a highly productive season so far in his first year with the Panthers, Huberdeau has been the exact opposite. Right now, he's on pace to barely eclipse the 50 point mark, having only tallied six goals and 18 assists in 32 games played. Many have attributed the startling drop in offensive production to head coach Darryl Sutter's defense first system.
The two have already had a public disagreement, and now another one has arisen. The Flames dropped their recent matchup against the Los Angeles Kings in overtime, and it wasn't long afterward that Sutter called out Huberdeau in his postgame comments for passing the puck on a key offensive opportunity rather than shooting.
"The only thing you'd want back is to be able to shoot in overtime," he said. They're leading scorer, he shot it into the net."
Meanwhile, Huberdeau defended his reputation as a pass-first forward.
"I think you noticed that. I have to take the shot. It's always been like that," he said. "I have to shoot. Obviously, I'm trying to make a pass for an empty net for the other guy, but I have to keep the game simple and shoot for the goal."