Originally written on Around The Rink  |  Last updated 11/15/14
Victor Hedman has been one of the best defenseman so far in the 2013 NHL season. Image Credit: Associated Press Two years ago, after his entry-level contract was set to expire, the Tampa Bay Lightning rewarded, no, gave Victor Hedman a five-year, $20M contract extension. At the time, Hedman hadn’t done much to deserve such money, but the Lightning had faith in the man they’d used the second pick in the 2009 draft on. The move was questionable, to say the least. Four million per year for a player whose offensive game was below average (46 points over the course of his first two NHL seasons) and whose defensive skills (career +/- was a flat 0 after his first two years as a member of the Lightning) weren’t exactly shut-down level? Was this a face-saving move by Tampa Bay, trying to prove they hadn’t wasted the second overall choice back in ’09? Or, perhaps the Lightning knew what they had in the 6’6″, 235 pound blueliner from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden (if that town sounds familiar, maybe because of its other notable hockey products: the Sedin twins, and that Peter Forsberg guy), even if they knew they’d have to wait to reap what they’d sewn. Hedman did struggle in the first year after receiving the extension. He showed no offensive improvement, notching the same level of point-production he had his first two years (23 points, five goals and 18 assists in 2011-12) and his defensive game appeared to regress (-9 that same season). But this year, Hedman has exploded out of the gate. He has five points in seven games (two goals, three assists) and is second in the NHL with a +10 rating. He’s also third on the team with 13 blocked shots so far this year, and has been playing like a true shut-down defender. The Lightning are off to a incredible start to the season, having gone 6-1-0 to kick off 2013  and grab a stranglehold on the Southeast Division. Their improved defense, led by Hedman, is a big reason why. Tampa Bay is tied for 11th in the NHL with only 2.57 goals allowed per game; last year the Lightning were dead last in the league with a 3.39 goals-allowed per game clip. The big Ornskoldsvikian is only 22 years of age, and if he continues to grow as an all-around player, he could soon easily find himself mentioned as one of the elite defensemen in the NHL.  
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Izzo: MSU could win football, basketball titles in same year

Durant ‘would love to’ spend entire career with Thunder

Elementary school sportswriter has hot take on Cam Newton

Romo was willing to take pay cut to keep DeMarco Murray

Marcus Mariota reportedly not planning to attend NFL draft


Alabama RB dismissed from team after marijuana arrest

Golden Tate: Departure of Suh won't pressure Lion's offense

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Team USA improves before meltdown in Swiss draw

USC AD skips meeting in Indiana: ‘I am the proud father of a gay son’

David Ortiz clarifies part of essay in The Players' Tribune

WATCH: Spoelstra gives nice shoutout to Craig Sager

WATCH: Drew Miller takes skate to the face

WATCH: Gronk describes his perfect wife

Reigning National Champions to boycott Final Four in Indiana

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

New development clears path for Rams relocation

WATCH: J.J. Watt sings about stadium food on 'New Girl'

Kings ready to shut down DeMarcus Cousins

Jameis Winston may skip NFL draft to be with grandmother

Phillies to sell hard liquor, wine at Citizens Bank Park

Jason Dufner, wife Amanda getting a divorce

Top 10 players in baseball

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Durant wants to spend career in OKC

This isn’t Tom Izzo’s greatest March masterpiece

Are the Angels being overlooked?

Top 20 players in the Final Four

Top 10 players in baseball

Report: Tiger's plane spotted in Augusta

Moss shares story on meeting Deion

Five coaches already on the hot seat

Can we envision the Hawks in the Finals?

10 winners and losers from the past week in the NFL

Namath parties with 100 yr-old women

Report: Shaka Smart talking to Texas

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.