Lightning’s Steven Stamkos hoping for Olympics shot next year

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There’s no shortage of talent when you look at Team Canada’s potential roster for the 2022 Winter Olympics in February in Beijing.

Lightning coach Jon Cooper will stand behind the bench, while goaltender Carey Price will be between the pipes. Defensemen Alex Pietrangelo and Cale Makar will likely be on the blue line.

And then you have the superstars, including Nathan McKinnon, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, Brayden Point.

It’s a highly skilled group, and one Lightning captain Steven Stamkos hopes to be part of when the time comes.

Stamkos’ resume is already impressive. The first overall pick in the 2008 draft grew into the captain of the back-to-back Stanley Cup champions. He’s medaled in the World Championship (silver in 2009), Canada Cup/World Cup (gold in 2016) and World Junior Championships (gold in 2008).

The only thing missing? Olympic medalist.

“That’s definitely the goal,” Stamkos said. “I’ve said it before, the Team Canada roster is pretty loaded.”

Stamkos acknowledged he missed earlier opportunities in his prime years (he had a broken tibia just before the Sochi Games in 2014), but the Olympics are still something he wants to check off his bucket list.

“As a kid, you dream of winning the Stanley Cup first and foremost,” he said. “And then you always dream of putting on your Canadian jersey as a Canadian kid and representing your country at the highest level.”

Victor Hedman ‘100-percent’ healthy

Heading into the postseason, Norris Trophy finalist Victor Hedman knew he wasn’t playing his best.

The defenseman suffered a lower-body injury in a March 30 game against the Blue Jackets after tripping over Columbus’ Mikko Lehtonen and going hard into the boards.

Nevertheless, he continued to play and found ways to step up when his team needed him during its second straight Stanley Cup run.

“It sucks when you can’t play at your highest level, but at the end of the day you have to grind through things like that,” Hedman said. “I was excited for me now being 100 percent going into this season.”

Hedman had surgery to repair a torn meniscus after the playoffs and spent the offseason recovering in Tampa before flying to Sweden.

“There’s no regrets,” he said. “But not having the surgery a little bit earlier, because you never know the outcome. But the best-case scenario happened, and I’m fresh and ready to go for training camp (Thursday).”

Of note

  • Lightning general manager Julien BriseBois said Wednesday that 100 percent of the team is fully vaccinated.

  • Alex Killorn’s Dock Talk show will be back. The forward said he’s trying to create a better product beyond the original Instagram live shows he did in the summer of 2020. He’s also trying to plan out some high-end guests.

  • Aside from defenseman Cal Foote, who is sidelined recovering from hand surgery, everyone is expected to be at training camp this week. Defenseman Brandon Crawley will be added to the roster Friday when he arrives.

Contact Mari Faiello at mfaiello@tampabay.com. Follow @faiello_mari.

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