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Sutter: 'Huberdeau is probably the best passer that this team has had'

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Calgary Flames head coach Darryl Sutter has high praise for his new star winger.

"Jonathan Huberdeau is probably the best passer that this team has had, maybe ever," he told Sportsnet's Derek Willis.

He may have a valid case, as Huberdeau led the league with 85 assists last season with the Florida Panthers.

The Flames acquired Huberdeau in a blockbuster trade this summer, along with defenseman MacKenzie Weegar, prospect Cole Schwindt, and a first-round pick, in exchange for Matthew Tkachuk and a fourth-rounder.

But Huberdeau is more in line to replace Johnny Gaudreau, who left for the Columbus Blue Jackets as a free agent, rather than Tkachuk. Gaudreau, a crafty playmaker in his own right, was the engine of Calgary's offense, leading the team with 75 assists and 115 points last season.

Gaudreau's 75 assists last year tied him with Al MacInnis for second most in a single season in Flames history. Kent Nilsson holds the record of 82, set back in 1980-81.

MacInnis holds the most career assists in franchise history (609), while Doug Gilmour owns the team record for helpers per game (0.80). During his NHL career, Huberdeau has recorded 415 assists over 671 contests.

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