First Round, 2nd Overall Pick
Name: Victor Hedman
Weight: 220 lbs
Club: MODO (SWE)
Rankings: CSS- 1 (European Skater), Red Line- 1, THN-2 ISS- 3, TSN-2
Statistics: MODO (SWE), 43 GP, 7-14-21, 52 PIM, +21
For the second season in a row, the Lightning luck into getting the best player available at their biggest need. In Hedman, the Lightning get a legitimate number one defenseman who can step into the NHL right away after playing 20 minutes a night last season for MODO in the Elitserien. Red Line report calls Hedman, "A less edgy Chris Pronger," but it should be noted that Hedman also skates better than Pronger ever could, ranking 11th in this draft class according to Red Line in terms of the best skaters in the class. Aside from his mobility, Hedman has incredible poise and maturity, and does everything well. He's good under pressure with the puck and makes good decisions on when to move it and when to eat it. His passing is superb and has a big shot and loves to use the one-timer on the power play. The only knock is that Hedman doesn't have a mean streak, but he's got excellent range, and a great reach, and minds his gaps well. He's a true shut down defenseman in his own end, and his +21 rating in the Elitserien was tied for third best in the league, which is amazing for an 18 year old. Expect him to be a solid 40-50 point a year defenseman when he develops to his full potential in three or four seasons, and he'll make the entire defensive corps around him better because he can play 25 minutes a night, which will put the rest of the corps in roles they're more naturally suited for. In addition, he's so good defensively, he gives the Lightning license to go get a risk-taking offensive defenseman to pair with him.
Money quote from Red Line: "Has as much pure talent as any player in the last four drafts." Potentially better than Stamkos? Sign us up.