Franchise Defenseman Staying In Tampa

Hedman goes stick-on-stick to knock the puck away.
Photo by Andrew Fielder | Inside The Rink

It has been a heartbreaking week for Tampa Bay Lightning fans, but the announcement earlier today should brighten things up a bit as they have locked up franchise defenseman, Victor Hedman, to a four-year contract extension worth $8 million annual average value which will begin in the 2025-26 season.

Hedman was drafted with the second overall pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Lightning and since then, has been a generational talent on defense. Hedman has spent 15 seasons wearing Bolts blue, being the heart and soul of the Lightning’s blueline. Over his 1,052 games in the regular season, Hedman has amassed 156 goals and 572 assists for 728 points. He also has an incredible goal differential of +175. Through 165 games in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Hedman has added 23 goals and 94 assists for 117 points to his stats, with a goal differential of +24. Hedman’s career with the Lightning is nothing short of immaculate. He is a six-time Norris Trophy Finalist for Best Defenseman, winning it once, a four-time NHL All-Star participant, Conn Smythe winner in 2019-20, named to the NHL second All-Star team five times in his career, and named to the NHL first All-Star team once; all this to go along with being a back-to-back Stanley Cup Champion.

Photo by Andrew Fielder | Inside The Rink

It’s not just his NHL awards that have been impressive, but also the franchise records he holds. Hedman holds just about every franchise record for defensemen in Lightning history. He has played the most games, with this past season seeing him be only the third defenseman in Lightning history to hit the 1,000 games played mark, holds the most assists, points, plus/minus, even-strength goals (124), even-strength points (455), powerplay points, shorthanded goals (14), overtime goals (8), game-winning goals (28), hits (1,132), and blocked shots (1,613).

It is no secret how pivotal Hedman is to the Lightning’s blueline. At 6-foot-6, his reach is something you do not see often. If he looks like he is beat on a breakaway, you better think again. The 33-year-old has the ability to use his long reach and his long strides to his advantage to take away what should be easy opportunities. His ability to move up ice with the puck is something many Lightning fans will be happy to see for the next five years. It’s no secret how disappointing this week has been with the departure of key pieces to the franchise. Locking up Hedman was a must for the Lightning as there are no better options. nor players that can close to what he has done along the blueline.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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Zachary Alvarado

Inside The Rink journalist covering the Wheeling Nailers and Norfolk Admirals of the ECHL. I am a Duquesne University Sports Information and Media major graduating in December. I have been passionate about hockey since I was 4 years old.

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