The Tampa Bay Lightning received a terrible news on Friday, when we learned that defenseman Victor Hedman will miss three to six weeks with a knee injury. The 27-year old defenseman was having wonderful season, as he had 33 points and a defensive differential of plus 24 in 44 games played before being injured.
This sad news come with an other one, as Hedman will not be able to represent his team in the All-Star game, presented in Tampa Bay on January 28th. The NHL will soon announce who will replace the Swedish defenseman, and Sportsnet columnist Josh Beneteau came up with a list of four players that could be a good choice. Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Morgan Rielly is one of them, and that would make a lot of sense with the incredible season he is having so far.
The 23-year old defenseman, drafted fifth overall by the Leafs in 2012, has five goals and 26 assists for 31 points in 45 games so far this season. At this pace, he could finish the year with a total of 56 points, which would be the best offensive production of his career. His best season before that was the 36 points year he had back in 2015-2016. Auston Matthews was the only Leafs named for the all-star game, and many fans in Toronto were not happy about it when the announcement was made earlier this week. Hedman's injury could be Rielly's opportunity to participate in his first all-star game.
The Leafs are currently third in the Atlantic division with a record of 25-17-3. They lost their last two games ahead of their bye week, and will play their next one on January 16th against the St.Louis Blues.
Here's a replay of an awesome play Morgan Rielly made this season, when he served a perfect lob pass to Tyler Bozak against the Vancouver Canucks on January sixth.
Photo Credit: Keystone Press