Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Tampa Bay Lightning would draft Sweden's defenseman Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is described as the best Swedish defenseman since Nicklas Lidstrom.

Getty Images

Victor Hedman is described as the best Swedish defenseman since Nicklas Lidstrom.

If the Lightning is lucky enough to get the first pick in this summer's draft, there is little doubt it will take 6-foot-6, 220-pound Swedish defenseman Victor Hedman.

Center John Tavares, the other hotshot prospect, is going to be an NHL star, and he seems the consensus No. 1 player available.

But Tampa Bay already has its future offensive whiz kid in Steven Stamkos and is crying for a cornerstone blue-liner.

Hedman, supposedly the best defenseman out of Sweden since Nicklas Lidstrom, is physically imposing (though we're not sure yet about a mean streak), a great skater and has two seasons of experience playing for Modo of the Swedish Elite League. His Dec. 18, 1990, birthday means he will make the transition to the NHL mostly as a 19-year-old.

There were some questions at the world junior championship about his decision-making with the puck and tentativeness on offense. Still, E.J. McGuire, head of NHL Central Scouting, told NHL.com, "If a team is going to solidify its defense, you look right to Hedman."

That is why the race to the bottom of the NHL standings will be so intriguing.

If the Lightning, which entered Saturday four points ahead of the 30th-place Islanders, hits rock bottom, it will have a 48.2 percent chance in the draft lottery of gaining the No. 1 overall pick; 18.8 percent if it finishes 29th.

Finishing last also guarantees a team will not pick any lower than second as lottery rules say teams cannot fall further than one position. If the Islanders pick first, they are expected to take Tavares.

Of course other teams will try to trade into the No. 1 position, and lottery rules dictate any of the bottom five teams can end up with the No. 1 pick.

Whatever happens, Tampa Bay's focus all summer will be beefing up its blue line. We've seen how far having elite forwards and little on defense will get you.

A FLAWED PROCESS: Perhaps the AHL made the right decision in suspending Norfolk's Steve Downie 20 games for allegedly intentionally slashing a linesman's shin. But it did itself a disservice by not interviewing Downie during the investigation.

Downie's reputation precedes him, for sure. But the grainy image that showed up on YouTube in regards to the latest incident was far from convincing that Downie acted intentionally.

The league did not have to give Downie a voice in the process. For the appearance of fairness, it should have.

Tampa Bay Lightning would draft Sweden's defenseman Victor Hedman 03/14/09 [Last modified: Sunday, March 15, 2009 8:15am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Volkov with a top-six showcase for Lightning

    Blogs

    Alex Volkov entered Lightning camp a bit of an unknown, the second-round pick from Russia in his first NHL camp.

    Alex Volkov (79) works to stop Florida Panthers center Denis Malgin (62) during the second period of Sunday's game in Tampa.
  2. How Jameis Winston's turnovers doomed the Bucs again

    Bucs

    The Bucs' rise or fall is based on the play of quarterback Jameis Winston. His failure to take care of the football was arguably the biggest factor in their 34-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings Sunday.

    Jameis Winston has turned the football over 25 times in 17 road games. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
  3. HomeTeam 25: Volleyball rankings for Tampa Bay

    Volleyball Preps

    1. Plant (6-1)

    Fivay's Kirbea Harrell leads her team in kills and digs this season. (Lance Rothstein, Times)
  4. NCAA coaches among 10 charged with fraud and corruption

    College

    NEW YORK — Four college basketball coaches were among those facing federal charges Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said.

    In this March 15, 2012, file photo, San Diego State assistant coach Tony Bland, left, talks during NCAA college basketball practice in Columbus, Ohio. Bland was identified in court papers, and is among 10 people facing federal charges in Manhattan federal court, Tuesday in a wide probe of fraud and corruption in the NCAA, authorities said. [AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File]