Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov will represent the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2017 NHL All-Star Game. This will be the ninth time in franchise history and the third consecutive season that the Lightning will have multiple representatives. The honor is a first for both players.
Victor Hedman and Nikita Kucherov to Represent Tampa Bay Lightning at All-Star Game
When looking at potential representatives for the Lightning, Hedman is not a surprise. Hedman leads all NHL defensemen with 30 assists and is second in scoring with 37 points, behind San Jose’s Brent Burns. Earlier this season, Hedman unseated Dan Boyle to become Tampa Bay’s all-time assists and scoring leader for defenseman. In an injury plagued season, Hedman has been a steady force, averaging more than 24 minutes per game.
Kucherov’s season has been successful, but difficult. His early season partner, Steven Stamkos, went on the injured reserved list in November with a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee. The pair found great chemistry early and started to propel the team to early season success. Kucherov then suffered a lower-body injury which lead to a six game absence in December. Prior to his injury, Kucherov ranked among the NHL leaders for goals and scoring. Since returning, Kucherov has points in five of six games and started to climb back in the standings. Kucherov currently leads the Lightning for goals (16) and scoring (39 points) and ranks tied for eighth in the league scoring race.
Like last season, the 2017 NHL All-Star Game features a three-game tournament, played in a 3-on-3 format, featuring teams representing each NHL division. Hedman and Kucherov will play under coach Michel Therrien of the Montreal Canadiens. All-Star weekend runs January 27-29 in Los Angeles at the Staples Center. The skills competition takes place on January 28 with the tournament on January 29.