Report: Hedman playing through lower-body injury, needs offseason surgery

Scott Audette / National Hockey League / Getty

If Victor Hedman hasn't looked like himself at times this season, there's a logical explanation as to why.

The Tampa Bay Lightning defenseman has been playing through a lower-body injury that will require surgery in the offseason, Sportsnet's Chris Johnston reported on Saturday's "Headlines" segment.

Johnston said Hedman's injury occurred on March 30 against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Here's a look at the play in question:

The Lightning held Hedman out of Saturday's game against the Florida Panthers due to a lower-body injury. It was the first contest he's missed all season. Johnston noted the 30-year-old Swede does plan to play in the postseason.

Hedman ranks third among NHL blue-liners with 45 points in 54 games, but the Lightning's 51.3% expected goals percentage with him on the ice at five-on-five stands to be their worst such mark since 2012-13, according to Natural Stat Trick.

Tampa has been especially outplayed with Hedman on the ice at five-on-five since that March 30 contest, owning a 48.6% share of the expected goals and a 39% share of the high-danger scoring chances in that span.

Hedman has been a Norris Trophy finalist in each of the last four seasons, winning the award in 2017-18. He also won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP following the Lightning's Stanley Cup triumph last summer.

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Report: Hedman playing through lower-body injury, needs offseason surgery
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