Vancouver Canucks prospect Bo Horvat, the club’s ninth overall pick from 2013, had been skating on his own due to a shoulder injury suffered late in the preseason.
But on Wednesday, the 19-year-old center took part in a full team practice. He could find himself in the lineup soon, too.
Horvat was injured on Oct. 2, after absorbing a hard but clean open-ice hit in a game against the Edmonton Oilers.
“It’s definitely not a dirty hit by any means. It’s just unfortunate that it hurt me,” Horvat told reporters in Vancouver.
“You’ve always taken a few awkward hits but nothing this serious. This is the first time that I’ve been hurt and off the ice for a bit.
“I’m not used to it. It was driving me crazy there, sitting in the medical room. But I’m just happy to be back on the ice.”
Now, exactly how will he fit into the lineup?
Horvat plays center, as does Shawn Matthias, Linden Vey and Brad Richardson in Vancouver’s bottom six group of forwards.
According to head coach Willie Desjardins, inserting Horvat into the lineup for his NHL regular season debut would mean moving one of those forwards to the wing.
Horvat, who isn’t opposed to playing more of a shutdown role in the middle, admitted he does have experience playing on the wing, so that could be an option for Desjardins.
The Canucks can’t send Horvat to the American Hockey League. They can reassign him to the OHL; keep him for a nine-game trial and then reassign him to junior; or keep him for the entire NHL season.