March 29, 2013; Tampa FL, USA; Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman (77) reacts as he is congratulated by teammates after he scored a goal during the shoot out against the New Jersey Devils at Tampa Times Forum. Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the New Jersey Devils 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What Should The Tampa Bay Lightning Expect From Victor Hedman?

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In December of this year, Victor Hedman will be 23 years old. Drafted second overall by the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2009, here’s a fair question: When will the Lightning begin reaping the dividends that ownership expects from the young Swedish defenseman?

Well, let’s look at it this way. While 2012-2013 wasn’t Hedman’s best effort for point production, it was by far his best overall season for being both a scoring threat and defensively responsible as well.

And I’m dying to know what he ate while he was in Russia during the lockout. Because 21 points in 26 games with a +18 is pretty strong, notwithstanding the level of competition.

So while Victor Hedman seems to have a great NHL career ahead of him, one thing he’ll never be is a fighter. Even at 6’6” and 230, I wouldn’t want Victor protecting my wallet in a dark alley at 3am. Heck, when Ruslan Fedetenko at 6’1” takes you down, you know that mixing it up probably isn’t your thing.

What Victor Hedman has lacked to this point is experience and maturity. He has a predisposition to make the occasional dumb mistake that leads to a two-on-one or a goal. We all know that the developmental process for a defenseman playing in the NHL encompasses several years. Victor is at that crossroads in time where we’re going to find out if he’s magical or mediocre.

Hedman has a lot going for him. He has the requisite size, speed, hands and reach to be ranked among the NHL’s best players at the end of his career. And complementing his hockey skills, the kid has the intangibles of character and heart.

For those reasons, I’m banking on Victor Hedman solidifying his game in 2013-2014 and becoming the weapon the Lightning counted on when they drafted him.

Leave me a comment and let me know if you think Hedman has what it takes to become a highly regarded NHL defenseman. Will he be a blessing or a bust in the upcoming season?

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Tags: Bolts NHL Ruslan Fedotenko Tampa Bay Lightning Victor Hedman

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