The Tampa Bay Lightning have remained silent over the last number of weeks, which makes this the perfect time to start a new series. I’m calling it “Playoff Player Grades,” and it’s about as simple as it sounds. Today, we begin with the Conn Smythe Trophy winner, Victor Hedman.
The fact that he won the Conn Smythe should give you some idea of where this blog is going; Hedman was phenomenal for the Lightning throughout the playoffs, providing a significant number of high-quality minutes game in and game out. Those high-quality minutes resulted in very tangible offensive contributions. Hedman scored 10 goals and 22 points in 25 playoff games, with the former total etching his name in the history books alongside some very lofty company:
Beyond the goal scoring that made headlines, Hedman also went about his quieter business in a tremendously effective way. Per Natural Stat Trick, he posted both shot attempt and expected goal shares north of 55% at five-on-five through his 25-game playoff run, all while playing more minutes than anyone else on the Lightning roster. He ways always on the ice, and he was always great.
There’s really not much more analysis needed to conclude that Hedman deserves an elite grade. The only thing left to do is thank the New York Islanders for selecting John Tavares first overall back in 2009.