The Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman already has one Norris Trophy underneath his belt and he might very effectively add to that within the coming years. Whereas groups have tried to comprise his impression on a recreation, it is not simple to do.Victor Hedman|Eliot J. Schechter/NHLI by way of Getty ImagesFor the previous few years, veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk performed on groups that needed to tangle with the Tampa Bay Lightning. That meant game-planning for monster Bolts blueliner Victor Hedman and in line with Shattenkirk, it was not a enjoyable job.
“Any time you play a man like him who performs as a lot as he does, you simply wish to make the sport as onerous on him as attainable,” he stated. “You attempt to be bodily, attempt to take him off his recreation anyway you may, but it surely’s onerous to do. He’s not a man who is definitely rattled. We realized, typically you simply must put the puck behind him as a result of clearly you may’t skate by means of him fairly often. However there’s a cause he’s so constant and as productive as he’s, as a result of there isn’t a lot to do to get him off his recreation.”
After stops in Washington and New York with the Rangers, Shattenkirk landed in Tampa this summer season and he has opened the season enjoying alongside Hedman. Evidently, it’s much more enjoyable this fashion.
“With the ability to play with him, you actually acquire an appreciation for all the things he does,” Shattenkirk stated. “I knew how nice a skater he was and the way a lot floor he covers, however I feel lots of people don’t notice how expert he’s with the puck and the way nice a shot he has. They’re all nice belongings that make him a Norris Trophy winner and possibly a future one, as effectively.”
As for that 2018 Norris Trophy, Hedman says he retains it at his dad or mum’s home in Ornskoldsvik, the enduring little city in northern Sweden that additionally claims Peter Forsberg, the Sedin twins and Markus Naslund as well-known hockey sons. Hedman nonetheless trains in ‘Ovik’ in the summertime, the place he retains a house and continues to work on his velocity and co-ordination.
“I’m not glad earlier than we win all of it,” Hedman stated. “I’m at all times striving to be a greater participant. Nonetheless obtained some work to do within the D-zone. I must be a bit more durable down low, boxing guys out. Perhaps I could be extra bodily than I’ve up to now. Offensively, maintain engaged on getting photographs by means of and use my skating to the very best of my skill. That’s after I’m at my finest, after I use my skating.”
The considered Hedman getting even higher must be a scary one for opponents within the NHL. The Tampa Bay star has all of the attributes you’d need in a No. 1 defenseman, however does so in an imposing 6-foot-6, 223-pound body. He has been a first- or second crew all-star the previous three seasons and there’s no cause to doubt he’ll earn that honor once more this 12 months.
Naturally, there’s a ton of strain in Tampa Bay proper now (oh, you hadn’t heard?) and as Hedman alluded to, nothing wanting a Stanley Cup will slake his aggressive thirst.
It’s a really small pattern measurement, however by means of three video games this 12 months, Hedman has performed a median of 22:19 a recreation, down almost half a minute from final season. That’s additionally down considerably from his Norris 12 months, when the large Swede logged almost 26 minutes per night time. However with Shattenkirk, Mikhail Sergachev and Ryan McDonagh becoming a member of the crew in recent times, Hedman doesn’t should do all the things always. And given the grind that’s the Stanley Cup playoffs, that’s a superb factor. If Hedman stays contemporary all through the 2019-20 marketing campaign, the Lightning could have put themselves in a wonderful place to exorcise the demons of playoffs previous.
One thing tells me that even with a Cup win, Hedman gained’t decelerate in his quest for excellency. However at the least his mother and father would have a hoop to maintain his Norris Trophy firm with at their home again in Ovik.
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Tags: tampa bay lightningConnect: In regards to the AuthorRyan KennedyRyan Kennedy is the affiliate senior author and draft/prospect professional at The Hockey Information. He has been with the publication since 2005 and in that span, Don Cherry, Lil Jon and The Rock have all referred to as his home. He lives in Toronto together with his spouse and youngsters the place he listens to loud music and collects NCAA pennants.