Victor Hedman has been out since March 30th, but he hopes to change that soon enough.
The 6 foot 6 defenseman has announced that his goal is to return to the ice in time for the team’s matchup against the New Jersey Devils on Thursday, putting him back on the ice in time to finish out the final two games of the regular season. Given that the Lightning finish off their season playing the Boston Bruins, adding an oversized defenseman to the lineup could allow the Florida team to end on a high note.
Hedman has been in and out of the lineup all season, but his production has been far from lacking. His ten goals and twenty-seven helpers over fifty-seven appearances make him one of the best offensive contributors on the team’s back end, especially on the power play — and given that he averages just over twenty-two minutes of ice time per night, the Bolts have to be thrilled that he could return to the lineup in enough time to round out the season and head into the playoffs.
Adding the Ornskoldsvik, Sweden native to the lineup prior to the team’s first post-season appearance would be particularly beneficial, particularly given that Hedman has been limited to so few games over the course of the year. After the team’s 4-0 sweep by the Montreal Canadiens last spring, it’s likely that the Atlantic Division franchise is desperate to see their playoff appearance have more of an impact. It’s likely, too — the team looks more powerful than last year, and Ben Bishop is healthy (something that hurt the team’s playoff hopes in the season prior) — but adding the biggest defenseman back on board? Not a bad insurance policy to have. Add in the hopes that Braydon Coburn will make a reappearance as well, and the Bolts could be even more deadly in the next handful of days.