Minnesota Wild forward Thomas Vanek is back on skates and expects to be 100 percent healthy for the season opener, the Star Tribune reports.
" target="_blank">says Vanek, 31, feels great following sports hernia surgery in June.
Vanek is entering the second year of a three-year, $19.5 million contract he signed with the Wild last year. After a slow start to the season he finished with 30 points in the final 45 games, according to Pro Hockey Talk. Twenty-one of of his 52 points in 2014-15 came on goals, but he had only one goal in his first 21 games.
Thirty points over the final 45 games of the regular season, along with four assists in 10 playoff games, was the consistent offensive production Minnesota thought it would get all season from the former Gopher. But the fact that most of his production came while playing through pain, which the hernia surgery fixed, was surprising.
“It bothered him for a lot of the second half,” Wild General Manager Chuck Fletcher said. “We gave it some rest, but it didn’t seem to be getting better, so we opted for the surgical route. We expect him to be 100 percent by training camp.”
More on Vanek's first year in Minnesota from the Hockey Writers:
"Things started a rocky for Vanek, scoring just one goal in his first 21 games in a Wild sweater, along with 10 assists and an average of 1.76 shots per game (he took seven shots in two of those games). Things picked up at the end of the season, but he struggled in the playoffs, failing to score a goal through 10 postseason matches, though that’s likely at the peak of when he was struggling through injury."
Minnesota opens the season Oct. 8 at Colorado.