TAMPA, Fla. — Victor Hedman is the Tampa Bay Lightning’s humble and hardworking superstar. Now in his 13th season in the NHL, the 31-year-old seems to keep getting better with age.
The Swedish defenseman has already set a career-high with 19 goals this season.
"I’ve watched him be so good for so long, I’m actually surprised that this is his career-high in goals,” head coach Jon Cooper said. “I feel like he does this every year for us. One thing is, I think he is shooting the puck more on the power play. That has helped him and us.”
“I’m not getting younger but it feels like I am getting wiser on the ice,” Hedman said. “Feels like I have the speed to be on a high level. For me, it’s all about helping my team win hockey games. That’s the pressure I put on myself, go out there and try to be one of the best players on the ice every single night.”
That pressure is also on the puck. The velocity on Hedman’s slap shot has also increased. He won the All-Star Skills Competition this year with a shot of 103.2 miles per hour.
“I wouldn’t want to get in front of it,” forward Ross Colton said. “Give some of these guys credit that do.”
“It’s gotten harder, that’s for sure,” Hedman added. “Hopefully I will be hitting spots a little bit more, too. It’s all about working on it and trying to get better.”
Hedman keeps piling up the points and accolades, but you would never know it. He remains humble despite worldwide fame as an NHL superstar.
“Yeah, I have never met a bad Swede,” Cooper said. “Whatever they’re doing out there, they pump out some pretty nice people.”
The Lightning host the Toronto Maple Leafs Monday night at 7:30.