NHL – TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Victor Hedman is a Swedish professional ice hockey defenceman currently playing for the Tampa Bay Lightning of the National Hockey League (NHL). Hedman was selected second overall by the Lightning in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Hedman is a two-time James Norris Memorial Trophy finalist, being nominated in 2017 and 2018, winning in the latter year.
Hedman began his junior ice hockey career in the Swedish J20 SuperElit with the Modo Hockey organization. He recorded 25 points in 34 games during his first full season in the league in 2006–07. Hedman then turned professional and joined the Elitserien with Modo at the age of 16. At the beginning of the 2008–09 season, he was ranked first overall amongst all draft-eligible skaters in the International Scouting Services’ preliminary rankings. In the same season, he was nominated as the SHL Rookie of the Year. Following his performance at the 2009 World Junior Championships for Sweden, Hedman was listed atop the rankings of European skaters by the NHL Central Scouting Bureau. Despite the unlikelihood of Hedman playing in Russia, he was drafted 83rd overall by the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL)’s Spartak Moscow on 1 June 2009.
Going into the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Hedman was listed as the second-ranked player and top European player. He was drafted second overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2nd to John Tavares who was 1st overall and was drafted by the New York Islanders.
Hedman has drawn comparisons to Chris Pronger, who is also 6’6″ and around 220 as well and was also drafted second overall.
TAMPA BAY LIGHTNING
Hedman made his NHL debut for the Lightning on 3 October 2009, against the Atlanta Thrashers. He registered his first point, an assist, on a Martin St. Louis goal. His first NHL goal was then scored on 5 December against Dwayne Roloson of the New York Islanders.
On 5 January 2011, during his sophomore NHL season in 2010–11, Hedman checked Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby from behind, receiving a minor boarding penalty. The hit was one of two that were eventually blamed for causing a severe concussion on Crosby that kept him out of play for over a year.
On 29 November 2011, shortly into the 2011–12 season, Hedman signed a five-year, $20 million contract extension with Tampa Bay. On 25 September 2012, it was announced that Hedman signed a contract with Barys Astana of the KHL during the 2012–13 NHL lockout. During the 2013–14 season, Hedman had a breakout season, posting a career best in goals (13), assists (42) and points (55).
Hedman followed up his breakout season with a strong start to the 2014–15 season. However, his start would be derailed after he suffered a broken finger, which was expected to rule him out of play for four to six weeks. At the time, Hedman was tied for the lead amongst NHL defencemen with seven points, and was considered a possible James Norris Memorial Trophy candidate for Defenceman of the Year entering into the season. Despite the injury, Hedman still had a productive season with the Lightning, scoring 10 goals, 28 assists and 38 points in 59 games played. After Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks, Hedman had recorded the most points by a Lightning defencemen in a single playoff year, with one goal, 11 assists and 12 points. On 8 June 2015, during Game 3 of the Final series, Hedman set Lightning records for career playoff assists (20) and points (23) by a defenceman, surpassing Dan Boyle, who previously held the record with three goals and 19 assists (22 points).
On 24 October 2015, Hedman played in his 400th career NHL game in an OT loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. On 20 December 2015, Hedman recorded his 200th NHL point, which was an assist on a Nikita Kucherov power play goal. The point came during a 5–2 Lightning victory over the visiting Ottawa Senators. On 20 May 2016, Hedman recorded two assists in a 4–3 Lightning win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. The two assists moved Hedman past Vincent Lecavalier (28) and Brad Richards (29) for number two all-time in playoff assists with the franchise. On 24 May 2016, Hedman became the leader in playoff games played for the Lightning. He surpassed former teammates Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier, who were tied for the most playoffs games played in franchise history.
On 1 July 2016, the Lightning re-signed Hedman to an eight-year contract extension worth $7.875 million per season. Hedman lead all Lightning defensemen in goals, assists (37), points and plus/minus. He also led all Lightning skaters in plus/minus, average ice time (23:03), takeaways (48) and blocked shots (132). He also posted a career high with a plus-21 rating. Hedman currently ranks third all-time in franchise history among defensemen in career points (229), behind Dan Boyle (253) and Pavel Kubina (243). He is also second all-time among defensemen in assists (180) and fourth for goals (49). Hedman ranks third all-time among Lightning defensemen for games played, trailing only Pavel Kubina (662) and Cory Sarich (490). In addition, Hedman is the Bolts’ all-time playoff leader for points, goals, assists and plus/minus among defensemen.
On 26 October 2016, Hedman recorded his 50th career NHL goal. The goal came in a 7-3 Lightning victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre. On 5 November 2016, Hedman recorded his 187th assist, which tied him with Dan Boyle for most career assists by a Lightning defenseman. The assist came in a 4-1 Lightning victory over the visiting New Jersey Devils. On 10 November 2016, Hedman recorded his 188th career assist which is the most assists by a defenseman in Lightning history. Hedman is now seventh in franchise history in assists. On 14 November 2016, Hedman recorded his 189th assist, which tied with Brian Bradley for 6th in assists in Lightning history. The assist came in a 4-0 Lightning win over the New York Islanders at the Barclays Center. On 15 November 2016, Hedman recorded his 190th assist, which moved Hedman past Bradley for sixth all time in assists in Lightning history. The assist came in a 4-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. On 21 November 2016, Hedman recorded an assist, which was Hedman’s 243rd career point. This put Hedman into a tie with Pavel Kubina for 10th place on the Lightning’s all-time scoring list. Hedman is also tied with Kubina for 2nd all-time in points by a defensemen in Lightning history. On 23 November 2016, Hedman recorded a goal in a 4-2 Lightning victory over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. This was Hedman’s 244th career point, which moved him past Kubina for 2nd in points by a defenseman and 10th in points in Lightning history.
On 14 December 2016, Hedman skated in his 500th career NHL game, which came in a 6-3 Lightning victory over the Calgary Flames. Additionally, Hedman recorded three assists, and now only needs two points to tie Dan Boyle (253) for most all-time points by a Lightning defenseman. On 16 December 2016, Heman recorded his 253rd career NHL point, which moved him into a tie with Dan Boyle. On 17 December 2016, Hedman became the all-time leader in points by a defenseman with his 254th career point. Hedman also moved into 9th place on the all-time franchise list for all skaters. On 20 December 2016, Hedman recorded his 200th career NHL assist. Hedman also became the first defensemen in Lightning history to record 200 career assists. On 28 December 2016, Hedman recorded two points to move past Chris Gratton in to eighth place on the Lightning’s all-time scoring list. On 10 January 2017, Hedman was named to the 2017 NHL All-Star game as a member of the Atlantic Division team. On 23 February 2017, Hedman recorded his 526th and 527th career hits against the Calgary Flames, which moved him past Eric Brewer for the most hits in Lightning history. On 11 March 2017, Hedman recorded his 287th career point in a Lightning uniform. This moved him past Fredrik Modin for 7th most points all-time in franchise history. On 27 March 2017, Hedman recorded his 50th assist of the season to become the first defenseman in Lightning history to record 50th assists in a single season. On 30 March 2017, Hedman recorded an assist in the second period to move him past Roman Hamrlik for the most points (66) in a single season by a defenseman in Lightning history. On 6 April 2017, Hedman recorded three assists to become the first defenseman in Lightning history to reach 70-points in a single season. Hedman also joined Börje Salming, Nicklas Lidström, and Erik Karlsson as the only Swedish defensemen to reach 70-points in a single season. On 9 April 2017, Hedman recorded a goal and an assist in a 4-2 Lightning win over the visiting Buffalo Sabres. Hedman’s two points moved him past Brian Bradley for sixth all-time in franchise history in points (301). On 21 April 2017, Hedman was named as a finalist for the James Norris Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually to the NHL’s top defenseman. Hedman finished third in Norris voting that season. On 21 June 2017, Hedman was named as a NHL Second Team All Star for the 2016-17 season.
On 12 October 2017, Hedman skated in his 553rd game, which moved Hedman past Brad Richards for fifth most games played in Lightning history. On the same night, Hedman recorded his 66th goal in his career. This goal moved him into a tie with Dan Boyle for 2nd most goals by a Lightning defensemen in franchise history. On 4 November 2017, Hedman recorded two assists in a 5-4 Lightning win over the visiting Columbus Blue Jackets. The two assists moved Hedman past Václav Prospal (245) for 5th most assists in Lightning franchise history. On 10 January 2018, Hedman was named to the 2018 NHL All-Star Game. Hedman also became the only defenseman in Lightning history to be named to multiple All-Star games. However, he could not play due to injury and he was replcaed by Brayden Point. Hedman was unable to play in the All-Star game due to an injury suffered prior to the event. However, Hedman did participate in the event by serving an assistant equipment manager. On 8 February 2018, Hedman recorded a goal in a 5-2 win over the visiting Vancouver Canucks. The goal moved Hedman past Pavel Kubina for the most goals by a defenseman in franchise history. On 3 March 2018, Hedman recorded a four-point game in a 7-6 Lightning shootout win over the visiting Philadelphia Flyers. With his four-point effort Hedman became the only defenseman in Lightning history to record multiple 4+ point games.
On 20 June 2018, Hedman won the James Norris Memorial Trophy for the first time in his career. This was Hedman’s second nomination for the award in his career. Hedman was the first defenseman in Lightning history to win the award.
Hedman played for Sweden at the 2008 World Junior Championships, where he helped the team to a silver medal, losing to Canada 3–2 in the final, and was selected to the tournament All-Star Team. He later became one of the youngest players to play for Sweden’s men’s team when he made his debut at age 17 in an exhibition game against Norway. Hedman would once again play for Sweden’s junior team at the 2009 World Junior Championships in Ottawa, where he met Canada for the second consecutive year in the gold-medal game, earning another silver medal in a 5–1 loss.
On 2 March 2016, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association named Hedman to its roster for the 2016 World Cup of Hockey. Hedman was joined by Lightning teammate Anton Strålman. The tournament ran from 17 Sep to 1 October 2016, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
On 15 April 2017, the Swedish Ice Hockey Association named Hedman to its roster for the 2017 IIHF World Championship. On 28 April 2017, Hedman was named as an assistant captain for the tournament. On 21 May 2017, Hedman helped team Sweden capture gold in a 2-1 victory over Canada.