With the Lightning re-signing defenseman Victor Hedman to a eight-year contract extension on Friday, we take a look at five of the most memorable highlights from the former second-overall pick’s career in Tampa Bay thus far.
October 3, 2009 – A dazzling debut
Hedman wasted no time in proving why he was worthy of the Lightning selecting him No. 2 overall in the 2009 draft. Hedman registered his first NHL point in the season opener against the Atlanta Thrashers, assisting on the game’s first goal by Marty St. Louis in the first period. Hedman netted his first goal two months later against the Islanders.
2013-14 season: His best yet
Following the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season, Hedman solidified his status as one of the league’s premiere defensemen with the finest campaign of his career. Hedman finished the year with career-highs in goals (13), assists (42) and points (55), earning his first All-Star nod and helping lead the Lightning back to the postseason for the first time in three years.
June 6, 2015 – Leading the pack
During the Lightning’s run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2015, Hedman emerged as one of the franchise’s career leaders. In a Game 3 victory over Chicago, Hedman set Lightning playoff records for career playoff points (23) and assists (20) by a defenseman, surpassing Dan Boyle who previously held the mark. Hedman finished that postseason run with one goal and 13 assists in 26 games.
March 2, 2016 – Joining the world elites
Already a member of the Swedish national team for the World Junior Championships in 2008 and ‘09, where he helped his homeland to silver medals in both, Hedman was once again named to the roster for September’s World Cup of Hockey. Hedman, who was surprisingly left off Team Sweden’s 2014 Winter Olympics roster in Sochi, will be joined by Lightning teammate Anton Stralman in the tournament, which starts Sept. 17 and runs through Oct. 1.
May 24, 2016 – Taking over the top spot
The Bolts might have dropped Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Final to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins, but for Hedman, there was a bit of history even in defeat. On this night, Hedman passed former teammates Vinny Lecavalier and St. Louis in becoming the Lightning’s leader in career playoff games played with 65. It tied Hedman’s best playoff run with 14 points as he finished with a career-high four goals and 10 assists in 17 games.