Quick Strikes: The Hockey News ranks Victor Hedman as second best defender in NHL

Guess who was first?

The Bolts

The Hockey News ranked Victor Hedman as the second best defender in the NHL. Guess who was first? His future teammate Erik Karlsson of course!

Here’s what they had to say about Hedman:

Big like Chara, smooth like Karlsson. OK, not quite as big as the former and not quite as smooth as the latter. But he’s the best combination of big-and-good on any NHL blueline today.

And here’s what they had to say about Karlsson

The No. 1 defenseman in Ottawa is the No. 1 defenseman in the league. Problem is, he might have been traded while you were reading this.

Unfortunately, no, he wasn’t traded while I was reading that. And quite frankly, every day that Karlsson remains on the Ottawa Senators is an affront to me personally.

Lightning and Crunch forward Cory Conacher is a dad. He and his wife Shannon welcomed son Callum David to world yesterday.

Congrats to Cory and his newly expanded family!

The Prospects

The Crunch are getting closer and closer to having a building where they can play hockey.

The Game

It’s August 2018 so you know what that means. Time to start thinking about the 2019 NHL draft! Cam Robinson released his super early rankings two days ago.

It’s never to early to start scouting the bottom of the first round (knock on wood) to see who the Lightning might be able to add to the team next summer. Oh, wait, you’re saying it is too early? Fine. We’ll talk again in a few months.

Noah Hanifin is one of the few remaining high profile restricted free agents who hasn’t signed yet. He was traded to Calgary earlier this summer as part of the Dougie Hamilton trade.

According to Dan Rosen at NHL.com, the deal should be done soon.

“It’s super close,” Hanifin said of his contract prior to playing in the Comm Ave Charity Classic at Boston University. “I want to be there and hopefully they want me to be there. My intentions are to be ready to go to camp soon. I’m excited and I can’t wait for it all to be settled.”

Justin Bourne at The Athletic (paywalled) looks into why teams might benefit from giving more opportunities to their players who put up good numbers in the AHL. He used Yanni Gourde as an example.

For guys like Gourde, carrying the stench of being undrafted and having spent time in the ECHL — not to mention his size — it’s almost impossible to get NHL GMs to take them seriously, no matter how good they look in the AHL. But you should’ve seen how good he looked in the AHL the past two seasons. He forechecks relentlessly, wins battles, kills penalties, wins draws, hits and occasionally fights. That’s not even mentioning his 48 points in 56 games.

This Day in Lightning History

On this day in 1997, the Lightning signed free agent Louie Debrusk. He would put up 3 points and 166 penalty minutes in that season. Debrusk is now the color analyst for the late game on Hockey Night in Canada. His son Jake plays for the Bruins who the Lightning dominated in the playoffs last year.