Tampa Bay Lightning season snapshot awards
Hedman named MVP, top defenseman; Shattenkirk comeback playerby Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / NHL.com Deputy Managing Editor
With the NHL pausing the 2019-20 regular season on March 12 due to the concerns surrounding the coronavirus, NHL.com is taking stock of each of the League's 31 teams.
Today, the award-worthy candidates for the Tampa Bay Lightning at the pause:
After a slow start to the 2019-20 season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have rebounded to solidify second place in the Atlantic Division.
There have been some strong performances for the Lightning as they try to push past their disappointing loss in the 2019 Eastern Conference First Round.
To showcase the top performances this season, here are the top players in various categories:
Victor Hedman is the Lightning's most indispensable player. He averages 24:04 of ice time per game and is one of eight defensemen in the NHL to average more than three minutes of power-play ice time (3:06) and more than two minutes of shorthanded ice time (2:22). The Lightning have a plus-49 goal differential, but in the four games Hedman missed they were outscored 17-14.
Video: MTL@TBL: Hedman nets two goals in 4-0 win
Carter Verhaeghe has made the most of limited ice time. The forward is averaging 9:22 per game but has 13 points (nine goals, four assists) in 52 games. He's averaging 1.54 points per 60 minutes of even-strength ice time, seventh among rookies to play at least 50 games. The 24-year-old made his NHL debut this season and scored his first hat trick against the Vancouver Canucks on Jan. 7.
Hedman is third among NHL defensemen with 55 points (11 goals, 44 assists). He's plus-27, fourth at the position, and his plus-30 even-strength goal differential (81 goals for, 51 goals-against) ranks second.
Anthony Cirelli is the Lightning's go-to center to play against the opposition's best. He's started 45.2 percent of his shifts in the offensive zone, tied with Yanni Gourde for second-fewest among Tampa Bay forwards to play at least 50 games, yet has a 52.0 percent shot-attempt percentage, which is seventh. He's plus-26 in even-strength goal differential, tied for sixth among NHL forwards.
Video: TBL@BOS: Cirelli opens scoring with SHG from circle
Kevin Shattenkirk had the final two seasons of his four-year contract bought out by the New York Rangers on Aug. 1 after the defenseman had 51 points (seven goals, 44 assists) in 119 games while making $6.65 million per year. Four days later, he signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Lightning and has thrived. His eight goals and 34 points are the most he's had since 2016-17 (13 goals, 56 points), and he's plus-22 after he was minus-29 in two seasons with the Rangers.