A golden opportunity awaits one of the defensemen for the Tampa Bay Lightning, two of which are prospects. Jan Rutta has left the Tampa Bay organization, which leaves a substantial hole beside the one and only Victor Hedman. One is a more steady and sturdy defensively-minded player. The other has more offensive tools and upside, while still having defensive acumen to be a two-way defender.
We’ll take a closer look at The Good, The Not-So-Good, and the What Could Be for both of these up-and-comers. But first, let’s take a look at the big man himself, Victor Hedman.
The defenseman who needs no introduction is a phenomenal combination of skating, size, defensive proficiency, and deadly offensive skill. In short, he doesn’t need his partner to “help” him.
Paired with Jan Rutta, they played 856 minutes together. 53.3% “shots for” percentage to go along with 53.6% shot attempts for percentage. Of course, these are fantastic numbers given the quality of competition that a player of Hedman’s caliber often faces. Because of the competition Hedman often faces, he needs to have an even-strength partner who can play good defense in their own end. Rutta checked this box by supporting Hedman on breakouts in addition to having the wheels and puck-carrying talent to take the puck to his own blueline and pass it up the ice.
Without further ado, let’s look at Cal Foote and Philippe Myers.
This kid is steadier than the first four layers of a brick wall. His puck skills are pretty average but he’s quick with his passes, which has put him in good positions while playing with the stacked Lightning team. He always seems to be in a good position and plays a simple game. He hasn’t led any rushes but has the ability to jump up into the play and cash in on opportunities that come his way: