Victor Hedman takes franchise lead in single-season points by a defenseman

Hedman passes Roman Hamrlik's 65 points in a single season with tonight's assist.

At 18:04 of the second period of tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings, Jonathan Drouin sent a wrister past goaltender Petr Mrazek, giving Victor Hedman his 66th point.

It was kind of a no-brainer of an assist for Hedman. Bolts were given a power play when Danny Dekeyser broke his stick across the back of Ondrej Palat. Jonathan Drouin took the face-off, won it, and the Bolt who picked up the draw sent it to Hedman. Hedman snagged the puck and circled behind Andrei Vasilevskiy's net to give the forwards time to set up their attack.

Skating toward the blue line, Hedman was trailed by Drouin and Brayden Point. Spotting Drouin to his left, Hedman made the decision to pass backward to him. Drouin caught it, skated neatly through three Red Wing penalty killers, found a good spot at the top of the circle to Mrazek's left, and beat him over the pad, under the blocker.

Paul Kennedy interviewed him at intermission. "Tonight you set the single-season [points] record for defensemen...what does that mean to you?

"It's an unbelievable feeling," Hedman said. "I'm so proud and honored to be part of this great organization. And to have that record means a lot to me, obviously. I'm very fortunate to be part of this organization for a long time, and I've just got to keep trying to become a better player and keep growing -- and bring a championship to this town again."

This past Monday Hedman set the franchise’s single-season record for assists by a defenseman, passing the 1995-96 record set by Roman Hamrlik of 49. Poor Hamrlik saw another record fade tonight, when Hedman's points set a new season high by a Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman. Hedman's three assists this past Monday tied him with Hamrlik at 65 points; at 66, tonight, he has set the new benchmark.

How has Victor Hedman been doing this season? He's been blowing through franchise records left and right, actually. So far this season, Hedman has reached the milestone of 50 assists, and is currently tied for fifth in the NHL. He is also second among all defensemen behind Erik Karlsson at 53.  This would have been a fine contract year for him, if he hadn't simply signed when Steven Stamkos did last summer.

For Tampa Bay Lightning franchise record geeks, Victor Hedman is also seventh in all-time points, right above Fredrik Modin; ninth in goals created at 96.3; fifth in adjusted assists right between Stamkos and Vinny Prospal; first in defensive point shares at 26.8, right above Pavel Kubina; and fourth in Point Shares at 51.9, just below Stamkos. Hedman is also tenth in all-time assists per game, setting the record at .69 for this season.

According to the Tampa Bay Lightning Game Notes, here are Hedman’s 2016-17 season highlights:

  • Tallied 3 assists for 4th time this season (10 times in career) March 27 vs. CHI
  • Has set career highs for goals (15), assists (50) and points (65)
  • Matched career high w/ points in 5-straight games (2g, 5a) Feb. 23-March 4
  • Selected to his first NHL All-Star Game
  • Ranks T-5th in NHL for assists
  • Ranks 3rd among NHL d-men for scoring
  • Leads NHL for PP assists (27) and ranks T-1st for PP points (4-27--31)
  • Leads Bolts for blocked shots (119) and avg. TOI (24:20)/

There are still a few games left in the season, too, so whatever points total Hedman ends up with is the new all-time franchise record for single-season points by a defenseman.

Congrats to our Swedefender!