Top level defensemen tend to be in high demand. And teams that are fortunate enough to have one on their roster are often reluctant to give them up.

So it was a bit of a surprise earlier this week to see and hear some comments questioning whether Lightning D Victor Hedman was worth the five-year, $20 million contract extension the 20-year-old former No. 2 overall pick.

On the surface, it seems like a legitimate question since handing over a five-year contract to a player just out of his teen years figures to be a major risk. But what kind of long-term contract is not considered a risk? In fact, how many out there believe that the five-year deal signed by Steven Stamkos this past summer is not long enough?

Sometimes, it's all about the perception and I'm sure there are plenty who will look at Hedman and chip away at his game. He doesn't score enough points. For somebody who is 6-foot-6, he's not physical enough. He's not tough enough. He doesn't even get many shifts on the power play.

My perception, however, is this – Hedman's game is so good, it brings out those looking to nit-pick away at his game to justify their perceived thoughts.

And keep this in mind, he's a 20-year-old logging top two minutes. In the playoffs last season, he was 20-years-old but played like he'd been in the league 10 years. He takes on the likes of Pavel Datsyuk, Alex Ovechkin and Thomas Vanek on a nightly basis, and does it quite well.

Did I mention Hedman won't turn 21 until later this month? Have I passed along that Saturday's game against the New York Rangers was the 175th of his career?

That thought brings me back to a statement made many times by former Lightning coach John Tortorella, who feels that it takes a defenseman 300-350 games to figure out the ins and outs of the position in this league. Hedman is barely halfway to that point, and he's already way ahead of the learning curve.