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Panthers' Huberdeau on hiring of coach Gallant: 'It's good to be reunited with him'

John E. Sokolowski / USA TODAY Sports

One Florida Panther who is ready to get things going under new head coach Gerard Gallant is Jonathan Huberdeau. The 2013 Calder Trophy winner regressed somewhat as a player last season, and is hopeful that a reunion with his junior coach will trigger a return to the level of play that made him the third overall pick in 2011.

"It's good to be reunited with him and I think things are going to be good with him here,'' Huberdeau told the Miami Herald"I'm excited for this. He's a guy who is intense and into the game. He keeps you up throughout the game. I think the guys are going to react to him. He wants what is best for the players.''

Gallant, of course, served as the head coach of the Saint John Sea Dogs of the QMJHL for three seasons, with his best player being a young Huberdeau. 

Gallant was the Canadian Hockey League's coach of the year in two of those three seasons with the Sea Dogs, and the team won the Memorial Cup in 2011 on the strength of an impressive performance by Huberdeau, a run that obviously caught the Panthers' eye.

In 2013-14, Huberdeau recorded nine goals and 19 assists in 69 games after posting 14 goals and 17 assists in 48 games as a rookie. The 21-year-old is a key piece as general manager Dale Tallon works towards building winning team Florida, and a bounce back under Gallant will go a long way in terms of improving the club's performance in the coming season.

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