Today in the Second-Overall Selections series, let’s go back to 2009. After the New York Islanders took John Tavares with the first-overall pick, the Tampa Bay Lightning chose defenseman Victor Hedman with the second-overall pick. Could the Buffalo Sabres pick a player similar to the caliber of Hedman when their second overall pick comes around on June 27 in this year’s NHL Entry Draft?
Before he was drafted, Hedman was playing in his hometown Sweden, with MODO Hockey Ornskoldsvik of the Swedish Elite League. He had 21 points in 43 games in his pre-draft year and finished that season a plus-21. He also had two assists in six games representing Sweden in the 2009 World Junior Championships, winning a silver medal at that tournament.
He had also won silver with Sweden at the 2008 World Juniors, having previously won gold in the 2007 Ivan Hlinka Tournament and bronze at the 2007 World U18s.
After being drafted 2nd overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Victor Hedman made the Lightning from the get-go. He made his NHL debut on October 3, 2009 against the Atlanta Thrashers, notching an assist but finishing the game a minus-2. He played over 26 minutes of ice time in his NHL debut and went on to play 20+ minutes in each of his first 11 NHL games.
He was already a presence on the Tampa Bay blueline, playing in 20 minutes or more of many of the games during his rookie year. Hedman finished his first season in the NHL with 20 points (4-16) and a minus-3 in 74 games. He also managed 90 shots on goal and racked up 79 penalty minutes.
Following his rookie season in the NHL, Hedman represented his country at the World Championships. He notched two points (1-1) and six penalty minutes in nine games as Sweden won bronze.
Today, nearly five years after being drafted, the 23-year-old has appeared in 333 NHL regular season games, notching 144 points in that stretch – including 115 assists. He’s also managed 298 penalty minutes, averaging .89 penalty minutes/game. Hedman also has nine points in 22 playoff games.
This past season, Victor Hedman had 55 points in 75 games with the Tampa Bay Lightning. This was a career-best year for the defenseman as he put up 13 goals and 42 assists in the regular season. He also notched three points (1-2) in four playoff games.