Hedman picked up a point on an assist to this beautiful Jonathan Drouin goal.
At the young age of 25 (turning 26 tomorrow), Victor Hedman has claimed the top spot for defensemen in the Lightning record books. The Tampa Bay Lightning have never truly had a franchise defenseman - Dan Boyle was the closest the Bolt ever got, before he was unceremoniously traded during the dreaded OK Hockey ownership era.
In Victor Hedman, the Lightning have a complete defenseman. He plays in all situations - even strength, power play, and penalty kill. He is able to play both ends of the ice and step up to provide offense whenever needed.
In just 502 games played, Hedman has racked up 254 points (55 goals, 199 assists). That’s 0.5 points-per-game. Pretty impressive for a guy who was considered a “bust” in his early NHL seasons. Over the past few years, he has blossomed into a true powerhouse who is menacing to his opposition.
In the 2015 Stanley Cup Finals, the Bolts faced the Blackhawks, ultimately falling to Chicago in six games. Patrick Kane noted that Hedman was a source of frustration.
Patrick Kane called Victor Hedman a "special, special" defenceman. "He had me frustrated, had me talking to myself this whole series.”— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 16, 2015
That’s high praise from one of the game’s most potent forwards. After spending many years starving for a star on the blue line, Lightning fans will be the first to tell you that Hedman is in fact very special.
The Bolts are blessed that the dynamic Swedish defenseman chose to stay in Tampa over the next eight seasons with a very affordable salary cap hit of 7.785 million per year.
Here’s hoping he continues his ascent in the franchise record books.