March 26, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Keith Aulie (3) and Buffalo Sabres left wing Marcus Foligno (82) fight during the second period at Tampa Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Lightning Fan Choice Awards: Top Defenseman


Since the end of the regular season, the Tampa Bay Lightning have been giving fans a chance to vote on their favorite players and moments of the 2012-13 Lightning season. The vote currently on the table is Top Defenseman.

First on the ice is Victor Hedman. Hedman played in 44 games for the Lightning this season.

March 9, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period at Tampa Times Forum. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

During that time he registered 4 goals and 16 assists for a total of 20 points and a plus-1 rating. Victor Hedman game this season was greatly improved from seasons past. I think this is in large part to the time he spent with Barys Astana in the KHL during the NHL Lockout this season. He’s become much more offensively minded, and able to put the puck on net just as well as defend ours from the opposition.

Next up is Keith Aulie. Aulie suited up for 45 games with the Lightning this season.

During this time, he scored 2 goals and earned 5 assists for a total of 7 points and a plus-1 rating. While he was not as offensively minded as Hedman in front of the net, when the team needed a fighter, someone to stand up for one of our main guys, Aulie was always there. Unlike some of our other defensemen, who I am not going into right now, Aulie was able to pound his way through the opposition, earning himself the nickname “Muhammad Aulie.”

Then we have Matt Carle. Carle put up a solid performance this season.

April 4, 2013; Raleigh, NC, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defensemen Matt Carle (25) makes a pass against the Carolina Hurricanes at the PNC center. The Lightning defeat the Hurricanes 5-0. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

He suited up for all 48 games with the Lightning this season scoring 5 goals and earning 17 assists for a total of 22 points and a plus-1 rating. Out of the long-term defensemen this season, Carle spent the least amount of time in the penalty box, with a paltry 4 minutes in the sin bin. He is sometimes overlooked among the Lightning defensemen, but Carle is honestly right on-par with the top line guys. In fact, he did score the most points out of all defensemen this season.

Last, but certainly not least, we have Sami Salo. Salo suited up for 46 games this season.

Mar 5, 2013; Newark, NJ, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Sami Salo (6) looks to move up ice after retrieving puck during the first period against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center. Mandatory Credit: Jim O

During that time, he scored 2 goals and earned 15 assists for a total of 17 points and a plus-5 rating. A veteran defenseman acquired by the Lightning this season from the Vancouver Canucks, Salo played a solid game this season. He was ranked 3rd amongst the Lightning defense this season in terms of points scored. While he may not have been as strong as Carle or Hedman on the score sheet, he was there when we needed him, tying up games giving the team a chance to push forward.

Below is a video from the Tampa Bay Lightning showcasing some of the highlights of these four defensemen this season.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to TampaBayLightning.com to cast your vote and let your voice be heard! Voting ends on May 15th at 5:00 p.m. EST.

 

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Tags: Keith Aulie Matt Carle Sami Salo Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman