D | 6' 6" | 229 lb | Age: 29 | Tampa Bay Lightning
The Tampa Bay Lightning expected Hedman to grow into an elite defenseman when they selected him with the No. 2 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft. Those expectations have been amply rewarded.
Hedman was voted winner of the Norris Trophy as the NHL's top defenseman in 2018. Two years later, he was voted winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Stanley Cup Playoffs after helping the Lightning win their second championship since entering the NHL in 1992. Hedman scored 10 goals, the most by a defenseman since Brian Leetch of the New York Rangers scored 11 in 1994. His average ice time of 26:20 was the most of any player whose team got as far as the second round of the playoffs.
After earning Rookie of the Year honors in the Swedish Elite League as an 18-year-old, Hedman joined the Lightning for the 2009-10 season and had an assist in his first NHL game, a 6-3 loss to the Atlanta Thrashers on Oct. 3. On Dec. 5, 2009, Hedman scored his first NHL goal in a 4-0 victory against the New York Islanders.
He honed his defensive game early and has since become a standout at both ends of the ice with his blend of size (6-foot-6, 229 pounds) and speed.
Hedman's play during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs helped Tampa Bay advance to the Final against Chicago. He would have been a prime candidate for the Conn Smythe Trophy had the Lightning won the series.
He was named an NHL Second-Team All-Star in 2017, then won the Norris Trophy in 2018 after helping the Lightning win the Atlantic Division and finish first in the Eastern Conference. Despite missing 12 games with injury in 2018-19, Hedman was again named an NHL Second-Team All-Star. He was selected to play in the NHL All-Star Game for the second time in 2020 and was again named a Second-Team All-Star.
Hedman hails from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden, which has produced NHL stars Markus Naslund, Peter Forsberg, Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin. Many high-level players have spent time with Modo, the local club team where Hedman's father, Olle, served as an equipment manager. Hedman joined the senior-league team at 16 and in two seasons playing in the men's league scored nine goals and 25 points in 82 games.
NOTES & TRANSACTIONS
NHL Second All-Star Team (2017, 2019, 2020)
NHL First All-Star Team (2018)
Played in NHL All-Star Game (2017, 2020)
Signed as a free agent by Astana (KHL), September 25, 2012.