Has Jonathan Huberdeau Moved Into The Top 2?

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With two weeks to go before the NHL Entry Draft, Saint John Sea Dogs centre Jonathan Huberdeau has had quite a couple of months.  He was the MVP of the QMJHL playoffs, and followed that performance up with a Memorial Cup Championship, where he was named the MVP of that tournament as well.  And rather than let his on-ice performance speak for itself, he showed character by attending the NHL Draft Combine merely a week after the end of the grueling season.  With many of the other prospects having been off the ice for a month or more to train and get ready for the combine, Huberdeau (and some of his Saint John teammates) went right from the Memorial Cup tournament to the combine.

ISS had Huberdeau ranked 3rd in their May 30th rankings, and the NHL’s CSB had him 3rd among North American skaters entering the draft.  Rest assured that he will not be there when (and if)  the Senators step to the Podium for the 6th selection.  Huberdeau, however, is one of the players that GM Bryan Murray would deem worthy of trading up to snag.  He could be the  french-speaking star that Ottawa has longed for to help capitalize on the francophone market in the region, and he could easily be the best player to come out of this draft in a couple of years.

With Edmonton (barring a surprising trade) poised to select either Adam Larsson or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at #1, it will be very interesting to see what Colorado does at #2.  Do they take the more NHL ready (at least physically) Gabriel Landeskog, the player Edmonton doesn’t take (Larsson or Nugent-Hopkins), or do they go with Huberdeau? They could also listen to the myriad of offers that are sure to come in during the next two weeks.

As stated in his press conference, expect Bryan Murray to be active in trying to move up, if not to number one, at least into a position where he can nab one of the top forward prospects – Nugent-Hopkins, Huberdeau, Landeskog or another rising star, Mika Zibanejad.  They would be assured of getting either one of those players or Sean Couturier or Ryan Strome, but being able to make a decision on which one of them Ottawa selects rather than taking the one that is left could be enough to pay the price to enable them to move up.

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