Last week, New Jersey Devils’ goaltender Martin Brodeur secured his 666th career win in a hard fought 2-1 victory over the Florida Panthers. As usual, Brodeur was spectacular in net that evening, stopping 17 of 18 Panthers’ shots on goal.
While 666 may be just another number on Brodeur’s long Hall of Fame resume, both the number and its devilish meaning really sum up Brodeur’s excellence not only as an individual, but also as a New Jersey Devils’ legend.
However, on a night where the hockey world gathered to celebrate another Brodeur milestone, the veteran Devils’ netminder took some time to comment on a skater whose hoping to put together a hall of fame career of his own – Panthers’ rookie forward, Jonathan Huberdeau.
When asked about the Panthers’ rookie phenom, Brodeur was quick to lavish praise on the young talented skater.
“He’s good. He’s kind of, almost an awkward skater, he does a lot of, has a lot of weird moves; I think that his vision and his speed is pretty good. He made a good play there, I made a save on him and he didn’t panic in traffic – he went across and tried to beat me five-hole. In the first period he made a play and threw a backhand pass and the guy wasn’t ready for it on the backdoor; he’s pretty good, I was impressed.” Brodeur told Dan Rice of The Hockey Writers.
Pardon the Nicholas Cage reference, but that is clearly some “high praise” from a future Hall of Fame inductee.
Considering the way Huberdeau has been playing this season, Brodeur most certainly won’t be the last person to pat him on the back before his rookie campaign is over. With about a month remaining in the 2013 season, Huberdeau recently ended a 9-game goal scoring drought in the Panthers’ shootout victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday night.
Luckily for NHL fans, this season’s Calder Trophy race looks like it will come down to the last week of the season with Brendan Gallagher, Jonathan Huberdeau, and Cory Conacher locked in a dead heat until the very end. Huberdeau currently sits 2nd in rookie scoring with 23 points and 1st in goals scored with 13. If Huberdeau can follow up Thursday night’s heroics with a string of quality games, then a Calder Trophy could most definitely be in his future.