Florida Panthers 2021-22 Mid Season Awards

The Florida Panthers are entering their All-Star break atop the entire league with a total of 69 points. Carrying a record of 31-10-5, they are having one of their best years in franchise history. This was in large part due to their stars coming up and making some serious noise in big moments this season.

Hart: Jonathan Huberdeau

Jonathan Huberdeau is having what might just be the best season of his decade-long NHL career. He is leading the league in points with 64 and assists with 47 (17 goals). This is above players like Connor McDavid and Alex Ovechkin. In addition, he was named to his second career All-Star game this season.

Jonathan Huberdeau Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers forward Jonathan Huberdeau leads the entire NHL in points and assists. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The jump he’s made this year, and what he’s done to elevate the team around him, is nothing short of remarkable. He’ll have a lot to bring to the table when he’s due for a new contract at the end of next season.

Selke: Aleksander Barkov

Every year, forward and captain Aleksander Barkov shows why he’s the best two-way center in the game today. Barkov is having another great season. On the season, he has 40 points (21 goals, 19 assists) through 34 games. In addition, he’s tied for first in the league with Columbus Blue Jackets forward Gustav Nyquist in short-handed goals with four. This shows how much of a valuable asset he is on the penalty kill. Furthermore, he has a plus-14 rating so far.

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The captain has helped lead this team by example once again. His two-way game is nearly unmatched in today’s NHL and it seems like he’s earning every cent of his new deal he signed this past offseason.

Norris: Aaron Ekblad

After the horrific injury that ended his season last year, Aaron Ekblad is having his bounce-back year as a potential Norris Trophy candidate. Through 46 games played this year, he has 41 total points (10 goals, 31 assists) with a plus-29 rating. That point total ranks him tied for fifth in the NHL among defensemen with Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. In the goal-scoring department, he is tied for third in the league among defensemen with Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman. On the assist side of the puck, he’s tied for sixth among defensemen with Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi.

Aaron Ekblad Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers defenseman Aaron Ekblad has had a Norris caliber performance so far this season. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Once again, Ekblad has shown why he was selected first overall in 2014 and why he’s still one of the best defensemen in the game today. He continues to hang with elite company and is easily Florida’s best defender even after suffering a bad leg injury.

Calder: Anton Lundell

Since the day he dressed for Florida, rookie Anton Lundell has played as if he’s a seasoned veteran. Among rookies in points, he’s tied for second in the league with Anaheim Ducks forward Trevor Zegras with 32 points (10 goals, 22 assists). In the assist category, he’s third among rookies. Among rookie forwards, he’s first in the league in takeaways.

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On his team, he’s been given roles that would normally be given to veterans as he’s a big piece of their penalty kill. He leads all rookies in short-handed ice time per game with 2:44. It’s almost as if they have a second version of Barkov on their team. For that, he should be able to win the Calder by the end of the season.

Vezina: Sergei Bobrovsky

Goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky is having a bounce-back year after somewhat of a rough go at it for the past two seasons. Through 32 games he’s gotten the nod, he’s obtained a record of 23-4-3, with a goals-against average (GAA) of 2.56, a save percentage (SV%) of .920, and one shutout.

Sergei Bobrovsky Florida Panthers
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky could be a huge factor into how far the Cats get into the postseason. (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

This is very close to the performance they were looking for when they first signed him back in 2019. If he can keep up his winning ways, it will be just what the doctor ordered for a deep playoff run this upcoming summer.

What’s in Store for the Panthers Playoff Push?

The Panthers are currently 14 points ahead of the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Barring a massive collapse, it seems like Florida is guaranteed a spot in this year’s dance. If they can keep their consistent success going, it could put the rest of the league on notice. On paper, this team is considered a cup contender, but this part of the season will show if that theory can be put into practice.

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