With Hedman expected out 4-6 weeks, Lightning’s improved defensive depth to get test

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Tampa Bay defenseman Victor Hedman could be out 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his hand, according to TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Hedman suffered the injury Saturday in Vancouver while blocking a shot.

It’s unfortunate for Hedman, as the 23-year-old was off to a red-hot start, racking up three goals and four assists in his first four games.

Fortunately for the Lightning, they boast one of the deepest blue lines in the NHL. Even without their Norris Trophy candidate, there’s still veterans Anton Stralman, Matt Carle, Jason Garrison, and Eric Brewer. Radko Gudas, meanwhile, is expected to return tonight versus Edmonton, with one of Andrej Sustr, Mark Barberio, or call-up Luke Witkowski taking the sixth spot.

Stralman and Garrison are both new to Tampa Bay, the former signing as a free agent in the summer, the latter coming in a trade with Vancouver. The Lightning only lost one regular defender, Sami Salo (may retire), from last year’s team.

The Lightning (3-1-1) are in Edmonton tonight, Calgary tomorrow, Winnipeg Friday, and Minnesota Saturday.