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Hedman is indeed back for Tampa Bay

Tampa Bay Lightning v Vancouver Canucks

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 18: Victor Hedman #77 of the Tampa Bay Lightning skates up ice during their NHL game against theVancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena October 18, 2014 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

NHLI via Getty Images

After missing about a month and a half of action, Victor Hedman is primed to return for the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday.

(If there’s a setback for any reason, this post will be altered to show that much).

It looks like he’ll start off with Anton Stralman, according to the Tampa Tribune’s Erik Erlendsson:

The Lightning were 3-1-1 when Hedman went down with a fractured finger. They’re now 15-6-2 (or 12-5-1 without him), so it’s not like the Lightning collapsed without their giant, Norris-caliber defenseman.

Still, it doesn’t take an expert to realize that the Bolts will appreciate having the skyscraping Swede back.

Despite being just 23, Hedman has climbed the defensive ranks. He’s shown greater offensive potential with greater power-play reps so far this season, too. Even with that injury-abbreviated Oct. 18 game taken into account, Hedman has been averaging 4:09 minutes of power-play time per game in 2014-15, the most of any Lightning player. He only received 2:29 per game in 2013-14.

It may take Hedman some time to catch up to speed, but don’t be surprised if the Lightning look that much more impressive going forward.

Follow James O’Brien @cyclelikesedins