Lightning Round: Victor Hedman moves up the all-time Lightning leaderboard
Only two players in franchise history have more assists than the Big Swede
Remember a few weeks ago when everyone was shouting, “What’s wrong with Victor Hedman?” Well, it seems he’s back to being Victor Hedman. Over his last nine games he has 13 assists and five multi-point games. With two more assists last night against the Chicago Blackhawks, Hedman moved up the all-time assist charts for the Tampa Bay Lightning:
That's history!— Bally Sports Sun: Lightning (@BallyLightning) January 4, 2023
Congratulations to Victor Hedman for passing Vincent Lecavalier for the third most assists in Bolts franchise history 🎉@TBLightning | #GoBolts pic.twitter.com/FnAO4e8PKW
While he’s still well behind the pace he set last year, he’s quietly crept up to 25 points (1 goal, 24 assists) in 34 games this season. That has him tied for 19th amongst defensemen in the league (did anyone have Josh Morrissey and Erik Karlsson in their Norris Trophy pools this year?).
Among active defensemen his 493 assists ranks 6th and he’s likely to crack 500 helpers before he hits 1,000 career games. That’s fairly impressive for a blueliner, even one that sees as much power play time as he does. The Big Swede has been a consistent point producer, churning out seven consecutive seasons of at least 40 points and in six of his 14 years he has topped 50 points.
Would it be possible for him to finish his career in the top spot in assists? Possibly. Currently Marty St. Louis sits atop with 588. Steven Stamkos is second with 512. If Stammer decides to hang it up when his contract expires after the 2023-24 season, the gap between the two might not be too great. Hedman is under contract through the 2024-25 season and will be 34-years-old at that point. Still, with the way he plays, it wouldn’t be out of bounds to think he could play well into his late 30s (if he wants to). If he does that, the 588 number (or whatever Stamkos ends up with) could come into play.
Not only does Hedman provide the offense, he’s not too shabby in his own end either:
Heck of a block from Victor Hedman near the end of the game to send the #Bolts the other way and allow Nick Paul to score the empty-net goal. Hedman has nearly 1,000 more blocked shots than any other player in Tampa Bay franchise history. pic.twitter.com/0PTNa3PKBL— Chris Krenn (@Chris_Krenn) January 4, 2023
Of course, in two or three years, Nikita Kucherov will be entering the conversation as well. He’s currently 5th in the organization with 410 helpers, but with the way he can pile them up in bunches, it won’t be long until he’s knocking on the door to 500.
We really are in the golden age of Lightning hockey, aren’t we?
Lightning / NHL News
Brandon Hagel sticks it to his old team [Raw Charge]
It took him a couple of periods (and a shot off the iron) but Hagel finally found the back of the net in his return to Chicago.
Underneath his tattoos, the story behind Hagel and finding his comfort zone [Lightning Insider]
This is from earlier in the year (November) but is a good read on Hagel and the road he took to Tampa.
The first gameday of a new month means another compilation of Mish goal calls #GoBolts— Lightning Radio (@BoltsRadio) January 3, 2023
A milestone, some brilliant Vasy saves, and a plethora of Point highlight-reel moments. Here are our favorite calls from the month of December.
🎙 @DaveMishkin and @PhilEspo7 pic.twitter.com/41tGB3VsUe
Frosty Feelings: Counting calories and free food giveaways in Nashville [On the Forecheck]
A fun look back at the free food giveaways for fans in one of the great gastronomical cities in the USA. Our friends at On the Forecheck break down all of the delectable rewards earned in 2022 by the Nashville Predators.
Five teams that could define the 2023 trade market [Sportsnet]
Bring back Luke Schenn!
The NHL Winter Classic should be baseball now [Defector]
If they had two hockey teams play baseball instead of hockey for the Winter Classic maybe the Lightning could finally host one.
Red Wings waive Jakub Vrana [Winging it in Motown]
Could Steve Yzerman be gambling that no one is willing to take on his $5.25 million salary that runs through next season? Vrana is currently in Grand Rapids on a conditioning stint after going through the NHL/NHLPA’s Player Assistance Program. We’ll know at 2:00 PM EST if anyone claims the dynamic forward.
Finally - Jaromir Jagr is going to play forever.
50-year-old Jaromir Jagr scored a goal off a pass from 40-year-old Tomas Plekanec today, in the year 2023. pic.twitter.com/mnWgsJbWlq— Scott Wheeler (@scottcwheeler) January 3, 2023