Hedman missed one game when he was hit in the leg with a puck during the Lightning's game Jan. 18 against the San Jose Sharks. That was one game too many for Lightning coach Jon Cooper.
"You miss a 24-minute [of ice time per game] defenseman that plays the whole 200 feet," Cooper said. "You take arguably the best defenseman off any team and it will leave a hole. When he is on the ice it is harder for teams to get into our zone. Just the way he can cut the ice down on teams and not give them space just because of his speed, and then we usually have the puck a lot more when he is on the ice, just in the sense that he retrieves it quicker and he's got that ability to jump into plays.
"He plays all situations for us, power plays and penalty kill, so it's tough when you miss guys like that."