The NHL leading Tampa Bay Lighting lost more than the game against the Calgary Flames on January 11th. All-Star Defenseman Victor Hedman suffered a hit along the boards by the Flames wing Garnet Hathaway. The hit, which occurred early in the second period, had Hathaway colliding knee to knee with Hedman. Hedman’s knee buckled and he was unable to put weight on his leg. Hedman left the ice and was removed to the dressing room immediately after the hit. He did not return to the game. Hedman is out for three-to-six weeks to heal a lower-body injury.
— Tampa Bay Lightning (@TBLightning) January 12, 2018
Victor Hedman Out For 3-6 Weeks: Lower Body Injury
Hedman: The Key To The Lightning Success
The Lighting are 31-10-3 and Hedman is a big reason for their success. He leads the Lightning in ice time with an average of 25:37 minutes a night. Which leaves the Lightning looking to fill those minutes with quality ice time. He is a rock on the Lightning defense and one of a few bona fide No. 1 defensemen the NHL. The Norris Trophy finalist is also a key member of the power play and penalty kill units. About his performance in holding down the blue line coach Jon Cooper said, “We have some elite players on this team, but on the back end, he’s our rock back there.”
Hedman left the game and Anton Stralman and rookie Mikhail Sergachev were handed the top pair duties. However, it remains to be seen the adjustments Cooper makes to the Lightning defense. Regardless of that the Lighting has a lot more offensive depth than defense. The team weathered the loss of captain Steven Stamkos for an extended period last season. This injury is more impactful due to minutes played and lack of depth. One can make the argument that they needed to address it prior to the February 26th trade deadline. Hedman’s injury for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations like the Lighting could give them more impetus to trade for a quality back up. The Lighting began a five-day bye week today giving the team and Hedman extra time to heal.