The Tampa Bay Lightning keep on solidifying their core, with the recent signing of Steven Stamkos and Friday’s signing of defenceman Victor Hedman.
Tampa signed the 25-year-old from Ornskoldsvik to an eight-year deal worth a reported $63 million. The signing comes on the heels of the Stamkos signing, which locked up the forward for eight years to the tune of $68 million.
Hedman has been a critical piece of the Lightning roster, too.
“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Victor Hedman to an eight-year contract extension,” general manager Steve Yzerman said. “Victor has matured into one of the top defencemen in the NHL and coming off the recent re-signing of our captain, Steven Stamkos, we’ve secured another extremely important member of our team.”
Hedman, the second pick of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, has played some of his best hockey as of late. He logged huge minutes in the post-season, reaching an average of over 27 minutes per game, and is capable of logging nearly 23 minutes in the regular season. He had 47 points in 78 games last season, adding 14 points in 17 playoff games. Hedman also clocked 180 shots on goal.
His best NHL season to date came in 2013-2014, when he put up 55 points in 75 games – including an impressive 13 goals. Three of those goals came on the power play.
Hedman is a tremendous skater and is a sizable player at 6’6, 223 pounds. He’s proven his ability as a shutdown defender, too.
These are exciting times for Tampa Bay, as they’ve been able to solidify two huge pieces of their core and have a lot to build on from a convincing 2015-2016 campaign.
Yzerman has been a focused general manager and he’s made it happen, signing the team’s two best players to reasonable deals while still positioning his club to lock up some of its younger players in the years to come.