Victor Hedman has not worn the Tre Kronor jersey of Team Sweden since 2012-13 when he played in the Euro Hockey Tour where Team Sweden finished 4th out of four teams with Hedman playing in 6 of the 12 tour games with 2 points. The last major international tournament he played in was the 2011-12 World Championships where he had 1 assist in 8 games and no points in 3 EHT games. The last time he won a medal was a bronze in the 2009-10 World Championships.
Hedman had something of a breakout year in 2012-13 scoring 22 points in 26 games in the KHL with Barys Astana and 20 points in 44 games with the Lightning after the lockout. It seemed like he would be a player that would go to Sochi with Sweden in 2014 for the Olympics, but he was left off the roster as Sweden went on to win a Silver Medal, falling to Canada in the gold medal game.
Meanwhile, Hedman was left in Tampa and had his best year to date with career highs in goals (13), assists (42) and points (55) in 75 games. The Lightning made the playoffs but were swept in the first round of the playoffs. Hedman did not participate in the EHT or World Championships after the season.
The past two seasons, the Lightning have gone deep into the playoffs meaning Hedman could not participate in after seasons tournaments for Sweden. Now he’s getting a chance to show his stuff. He’ll be paired up with a familiar partner in Anton Stralman. Stralman was also not a part of the Sochi Olympics team and hasn’t represented Sweden in international play since the 2008-09 World Championships.
Hedman will be playing in front of one of the best goaltenders in the world in Henrik Lundqvist. Along with his partner Stralman, Sweden will also have a couple of fantastic blueliners in Erik Carlsson and Oliver Ekman Larsson. Their forward corps isn’t as strong or deep as Canada, Russia, or North America, but still boasts good players in the Sedin Brothers, Loui Eriksson, Carl Hagelin to go along with skilled youngsters Filip Forsberg, Gabriel Landeskog, and Rikard Rakell.
If the NHL and IIHF can come to terms on participation in the next Olympics, this will be a proving ground for Hedman. With a strong performance here and his continued dominance in the NHL, it will be impossible for Sweden to leave him off the roster again. And perhaps they might wonder a little more what could have been if he had been included on the Sochi roster.