The most talked about member of the Calgary Flames won’t get a chance to follow up one of his better games with his new team. Jonathan Huberdeau didn’t take the pre-game warmup on Tuesday in New Jersey and is out of the lineup.
This comes after the big ticket winger who came over in the Matthew Tkachuk trade played two of his best periods in Flames silks. Huberdeau had one official assist and a plus-2 rating in a 4-3 overtime loss to the New York Islanders on Monday. He also provided a screen on Elias Lindholm’s tally. Unfortunately, he also skated away awkwardly from a collision and is now nursing an upper-body injury.
Sutter was asked about Huberdeau Tuesday morning and said he was “a work in progress.”
“He’s a good player,” Flames head coach Darryl Sutter said. “Just be a good player consistently.”
The Calgary Flames coach, however, was not singling out the reigning NHL assist leader, who has struggled early this season but vowed to improve.
“There are lots of players on our team that haven’t played to their potential yet, if that is the prophecy or fulfillment of their skill set,” Sutter said when asked specifically about progress from Huberdeau.
Another warmup surprise included the fact Jacob Markstrom would start on back-to-back nights. Markstrom has arguably been the Flames’ best player during the five-game losing streak. Their last two games finished with single points for getting to overtime.
“There’s lots to build on,” said Flames winger Blake winger Tuesday. “Just another opportunity to right the ship tonight.”
With Huberdeau out, Adam Ruzicka skated on the left side with Elias Lindholm and Tyler Toffoli in the warmup. Dillon Dube, Nazem Kadri and Blake Coleman formed the second line, with Andrew Mangiapane skating alongside centre Mikael Backlund with Trevor Lewis on the right flank. The fourth line of Milan Lucic, Kevin Rooney and Brett Ritchie remained intact.