2007 U-18 World Junior Championships All-Star
2008 U-18 World Junior Champioonships All-Star
2008 U-20 World Junior Championships All-Star
Hedman is a produce of the Swedish town of Ornskoldsvik, which is the hometown of numerous NHL stars like Peter Forsberg and Markus Naslund. Like Forsberg and Naslund before him, Hedman was trained in the MODO hockey organization. Ever the precocious young player, Hedman jumped to the J20 Superelit ranks quickly for MODO in 2005-2006 at the age of 15 where he played 10 games after spending 8 games at the J18 level. The following year, in 2006-2007, Hedman again split his time between MODO's J18 and J20 clubs, and he appeared for Sweden in the U-18 World Junior Championships where he was named a tournament All-Star after scoring 1 goal and 3 points in 6 games in the tournament. In 2007-2008, at the age of 17, Hedman made his Elitserien debut for MODO, playing in 39 games and scoring 2 goals and 4 points after a short 6 games in J20. Hedman also again appeared for Sweden in the U-18 World Junior Championships and again was named a tournament All-Star with 1 goal and 4 points in 4 games. He also made his debut at the U-20 World Junior Championships and was named a tounrament All-Star there as well after registering an assist and a +1 rating in 6 games. Following the season, Hedman was touted as the leading candidate to be the top pick in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by The Hockey News. In 2008-2009, he spent all but 2 games at the Elitserien level with MODO where he played roughly 20 minutes a night and scored 7 goals and 21 points with a +21 rating in 43 games at the age of 18. Hedman's plus/minus rating was tied for the third best in the league. Hedman also appeared in 6 games for Sweden at the U-20 World Junior Championships, but his 2 assists and +4 rating in 6 games were considered a disappointment by his standards. He was named the top skater prospect for in Europe by the NHL Central Scouting Service for the June draft and the top overall prospect by Red Line Report. In June, he was selected by the Lightning second overall in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. In July of 2009 he signed an entry-level contract with the club.
"He has as much pure talent as any player in the last four drafts." - Red Line Report
Hedman brings to the table just about every tangible aspect a team could want in a defensive project. Hedman is immense at 6'6" 220 lbs, but has the skating ability of a much smaller player. In addition to his superb mobility, Hedman possesses a booming one time shot that he uses effectively on the power play. His intangibles are equally impressive, as he has preternatural poise in his own zone for a young player and world class hockey sense of what to do with the puck under pressure. He also has good instincts on when to jump into the play offensively, which continue to improve on a year-by-year basis.
The only major criticism of Hedman is that although he uses his size well to generate leverage to win puck battles, he lacks the mean streak and nastiness a player with Hedman's size could have. In addition, although Hedman has above average hockey sense in the offensive zone, many scouts consider his offensive upside to be a cut below the elite offensive blueliners in the NHL.
Bare minimum, the Lightning have gotten a number one shut-down defenseman capable of anchoring their blueline for a generation. When he is fully developed in three or four seasons, expect Hedman to be a player capable of playing up to 30 minutes a night in all game situations who will routinely post 40-50 point seasons, a la a Jay Bouwmeester. If Hedman should ever develop a mean streak or exceed expectations in terms of his offensive development, he could very well be an annual competitor for the Norris Trophy.