Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Victor Hedman Autograph Card

And now, part 4 of my 2012-13 Fleer Retro (by Upper Deck) box break, featuring Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman:
It is card #96-VH in the set, and uses the 1996-97 Skybox Autographics design; this particular card, like those of Jonathan Blum and Ryan Ellis, is from Group 'E' - which can be found in every ten packs. On this card, he is sporting the Lightning's alternate (third) jersey, worn for the first time in the 2008-09 season; it is usually worn at weekend home games. Notice the shoulders, though: it is of the old logo, discontinued two seasons ago, meaning it's an old picture. The current, ''simplified'' version looks like this:
Rumours have it that Tampa tried to lure the Colorado Avalanche into trading the first-overall pick for their third by including Hedman in the deal, and that's one I would have made, especially since, in retrospect, the Florida Panthers chose Alexander Barkov with the second pick. Hedman would have solidified the Avs' D instantly, and the team would still have had a shot at choosing among the remaining two out of Nathan MacKinnon (their actual pick), Jonathan Drouin (the play-making wonder Tampa chose third) and Seth Jones, the best defenseman available and Denver hometown kid that the Lightning wouldn't have picked. Just having Hedman as a safety net (because the draft isn't an exact science and accidents are known to happen) would have made sense.

Tampa looked to shake up their roster this off-season, buying out long-time captain Vincent Lecavalier (with 7 years remaining on his contract!) and hiring long-time Detroit Red Wings forward Valtteri Filppula among other moves.

Hedman is merely 22 years old, far from a defenseman's prime (25-30) and already has 4 NHL seasons under his belt. In 2012-13, he went 4-16-20 with a very respectable +1 in 44 games in Tampa to go with his 1-20-21 and a stunning +18 in just 26 games for Barys Astana in the KHL. He will be very good for a very long time.

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