Huberdeau's agent takes shot at Flames: 'Negativity sucks joy right out of players'

Members of the Flames' leadership group pointed fingers at themselves after Calgary's loss to the Red Wings on Thursday.

Jonathan Huberdeau's first season with the Calgary Flames hasn't gone according to plan.

After finishing fifth in the Hart Trophy race in 2021-22 as a member of the Florida Panthers, the key piece in the Flames' return for Matthew Tkachuk has struggled to recapture his scoring touch, netting just 10 goals and 36 points through 52 games. His 0.69 points per game marks the lowest of his career since his age-21 season in the 2014-15 campaign.

Jonathan Huberdeau's first season with the Flames has been underwhelming. (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal)
Jonathan Huberdeau's first season with the Flames has been underwhelming. (AP Photo/Larry MacDougal)

Huberdeau's struggles have been a microcosm of an up-and-down Flames season, as the team currently sits in a tie for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Quebec native's agent, Allan Walsh, took a jab at the Flames after Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings, hinting the atmosphere around the team could be a factor in the club's underperformance.

"The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result," the outspoken Walsh tweeted. "Also, negativity sucks the joy right out of players. cc: @NHLFlames."

Walsh wasn't the only one questioning the state of the Flames after the game, as members of Calgary's leadership group pointed fingers at themselves. The franchise hasn't had a captain since Mark Giordano was poached by the Seattle Kraken in the expansion draft following the 2020-21 campaign. Defenceman Chris Tanev is one of three alternate captains and shouldered some of the blame for the Flames' inconsistencies.

“I’m supposed to be a leader, so I’ll take responsibility for not having everybody ready," Tanev said. "We've been a roller-coaster all year. Good one game, suck the next. Good one game, suck the next. That's on the leaders in here.”

Mikael Backlund, who has been an alternate captain for the past five years, also questioned his team's effort.

“Wasn't good enough,” Backlund said. “The jump and the juice wasn't there. The way we want to play and the way we know we can play...

“It's the best time of the year. You want to be in a playoff spot, you want to play meaningful games, you want to battle and we should be coming out with more energy."

The Flames will look to snap a two-game losing streak when they host the New York Rangers on Saturday. Beating the NHL's hottest team would surely go a long way in restoring positivity in Calgary's locker room.