Just when you thought it was safe to swim behind the red line again …
All labored “Jaws” references aside, Raffi Torres believes that he’s healthy enough to play in the San Jose Sharks’ season opener, according to CSNBayArea.com’s Kevin Kurz.
Kurz explains that the bigger question is whether Sharks management, particularly head coach Peter DeBoer, believes that he’s truly capable.
” … Obviously with him, he’s been out a long time. He’s worked awfully hard to get to this point,” DeBoer said. “I think if you asked him, he’s probably not where he was when he left healthy, but he’s working back towards that and I think he’s getting better every game.”
Indeed, Torres admitted that he’s still a bit limited by right knee issues that have troubled him for the past couple years. Torres said that he “had no real jump” during the second and third periods of a recent exhibition, for instance.
That doesn’t really sound too promising, although Torres is still able to land some big hits here and there.
That intimidating presence – along with an ability to keep up, at least before his knee injury – was part of what made Torres so valuable before.
Torres says “I’ll let my play dictate my fate,” but the Sharks are ultimately the ones who get to choose his destiny.
Raffi Torres has played just 12 games over the last two years due to a myriad of knee problems.
But there is hope for his return.
“He’s heading in the right direction,” new Sharks head coach Peter DeBoer said this week, per CBS Sacramento. “[That’s] probably the best way I can term it. We’ll see. We’re all cautiously optimistic.”
The optimism, specifically, is for Torres to try and take the ice when San Jose’s camp begins on Friday, Sept. 18. Torres, who didn’t play at all last year and underwent season-ending knee surgery in February, is heading into the last of a three-year, $6 million deal with a $2 million average annual cap hit — a contract that, for the most part, he’s been unable to live up to.
Though it wasn’t for a lack of effort.
Torres initially had ACL replacement surgery in ’13-14 and worked hard to return, which he did during the club’s opening-round playoff collapse to Los Angeles. What followed, though, was a series of infections that led to a second ligament replacement procedure (the aforementioned February surgery.)
It’ll be very curious to see how Torres fares this season.
He turns 34 in October, hasn’t played in over 16 months and has to fight with a number of young wingers for minutes up front, including new Finnish rookie Joonas Donskoi who, according to AHL coach Roy Sommer, could be with the big club to start the season.
The San Jose Sharks officially put a wrap on Raffi Torres’ 2014-15 campaign Thursday, announcing the veteran forward underwent a second ACL surgery yesterday, one that rules him out for the remainder of this season.
More, from CSN Bay Area:
Torres, who had a problematic right ACL removed in the offseason, had the ligament replaced from a cadaver. It’s essentially the same surgery he had on Sep. 26, 2013, after which he suffered numerous infections.
The delay for Torres’ most recent surgery was to ensure that no further infections occur, according to [Sharks GM Doug] Wilson.
Torres, 33, has only appeared in five regular-season and seven playoff games since suffering the initial ACL tear during an exhibition game against Anaheim in 2013, and hasn’t appeared in any contests this year.
Per Wilson, the gritty winger should be ready to return for next season’s training camp, at which time Torres will be in the last of a three-year, $6 million with a $2M average annual cap hit.