It has been a long time since Jonathan Huberdeau was benched. It’s a feeling he doesn’t like.

For now, being sat for much of the third period on Tuesday could be the end of it for the NHL’s reigning rookie of the year.

Florida Panthers coach Peter Horachek says Huberdeau will be allowed the chance to play through his slump and he’ll be back in the lineup Thursday against the visiting San Jose Sharks.

“I don’t like to use the word benched, but that’s the analogy of what it was,’’ said Horachek, who pulled Huberdeau off the ice 2:38 into the third period Tuesday and didn’t put him back in.

“His time is earned and he’s going through a tough time right now. We’re asking him to work harder. He’s feeling the pressure of not scoring.’’

Said Huberdeau: “For sure, you want to be out there helping the team. I understood why [Horachek] didn’t want me on the ice. It’s a learning process. I have support from the coach, he knows what I can do better. I want to do better. It’s hard personally but the team is winning. I’ll get over it.’’

Huberdeau has been struggling this season, one in which he was eased into training camp after having hip surgery over the summer. Huberdeau played with the injury all of last season yet still won the Calder Trophy after scoring 14 goals and picking up 17 assists in playing all 48 games of a lockout-shortened season.

Huberdeau not only played all of those games for the Panthers last season, but also played 30 games in the Quebec junior league and represented Team Canada at the World Juniors.