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Could Mikhail Sergachev replace Hedman on All-Star team?

Lightning rookie defenseman among several candidates to fill in for injured Victor Hedman
DIRK SHADD   |   Times  
Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrates his goal beating Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop (30) during second period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (11/16/17).
DIRK SHADD | Times Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Mikhail Sergachev (98) celebrates his goal beating Dallas Stars goalie Ben Bishop (30) during second period action at Amalie Arena in Tampa Thursday evening (11/16/17).
Published Jan. 17, 2018|Updated Jan. 17, 2018

With Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman out 3-6 weeks with a lower body injury, he has to get replaced on the Atlantic Division team. There are plenty of strong candidates to fill the void, including the Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly and Boston rookie Charlie McAvoy.

But what about Lightning rookie Mikhail Sergachev?

Sergachev, 19, ranks fourth among division defensemen with 24 points (behind All-Stars Hedman and Erik Karlsson, and Rielly). Sergachev's eight goals are most by a division defenseman. He's a plus-13, no doubt boosted by playing in the top-four with another All-Star caliber player in Anton Stralman (plus-21).

This still is probably a long-shot, however, for Sergachev to make the team as an injury replacement. Would think Rielly (31 points) could get picked. or McAvoy (24 points, plus-15). Both play bigger roles (and more minutes) with their respective teams, McAvoy and Rielly averaging more than 22 minutes per game (Sergachev at 15:41, but rising).

But Sergachev is an intriguing option, especially in 3-on-3 tournament. The fact we're even having this conversation speaks to how well Sergachev has played in just his first NHL season.

And Sergachev will likely get leaned on more by Tampa Bay in Hedman's absence. You saw Sergachev step into the first power play unit Thursday when Hedman went down. The Lightning tried to ease Sergachev into the mix this season, picking his spots to face top-line competition, but he'll likely get more tough assignments if moved up to the top pair with Stralman for the next month.

So while Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Andrei Vasilevskiy may be the only Lightning all-stars, there will likely be a great spotlight on Sergachev in the second half.

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