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Lightning stay busy, sign Victor Hedman to new eight-year contract extension

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Why doesn’t the NHL just hand Steve Yzerman the General Manager of the Year award for next year and be done with it?

The amazing summer of the Tampa Bay Lightning continued Friday when defenseman Victor Hedman signed an eight-year contract extension for $63, two days after team captain Steve Stamkos did the same.

Also in this summer, Yzerman has reached a peace with forward Jonathan Drouin, decided not to trade Ben Bishop for now and bought out unpopular defenseman Matt Carle. Also Friday, the team re-signed goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy.

“We are very pleased to announce the signing of Victor Hedman to an eight-year contract extension. Victor has matured into one of the top defensemen in the NHL and coming off the recent re-signing of our captain, Steven Stamkos,  we’ve secured another extremely important member of our team,” Yzerman said upon making the announcement. “I’m very appreciative of both Victor and Peter Wallen’s efforts to reach an agreement with us at this time.”

Hedman, 25, played in 78 games with the Lightning last season, collecting 10 goals and 47 points to go along with a plus-21 rating and 46 penalty minutes. He led all Lightning defensemen for goals, assists (37), points and plus/minus. Hedman led all Lightning skaters for plus/minus, average time on ice (23:03), takeaways (48) and blocked shots (132). His plus-21 rating was a new career high.

“For me, it was never a doubt,” Hedman said. “Staying in Tampa was my No. 1 priority. For me, Stammer, we want to win together. That was obviously a big goal, to go all the way together with Tampa.”

Hedman currently ranks third all-time in franchise history among defensemen for career points with 229, behind Dan Boyle (253) and Pavel Kubina (243). He is also second all-time among defensemen for assists (180) and fourth for goals (49). Hedman ranks third all-time among Tampa Bay defensemen for games played (470), trailing Kubina (662) and Cory Sarich (490).

The 6-foot-6, 223-pound defenseman also appeared in 17 Stanley Cup playoff games in 2016, posting four goals and 14 points, tied for the team lead with 10 assists. Hedman has played in 65 career NHL playoff games, recording six goals and 37 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes. He has reached the Eastern Conference Final in three of his seven seasons with the Lightning (2011, 2015, 2016). He is the Bolts’ all-time playoff leader for points, goals, assists and plus/minus among defensemen.

 

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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