Ducks expect late-arriving Sami Vatanen will return to form – Orange County Register

ANAHEIM — When it comes to the new NHL season, Sami Vatanen’s best bet is to arrive fashionably late.

The questions that surrounded his future with the Ducks for weeks early in the summer have given way to how much of the season he’ll miss because of surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

“It’s been a little different summer but it’s all good now,” Vatanen said earlier this week following an informal workout at Anaheim Ice. “It’s all in the past now.”

The place will be bustling with activity Friday as the Ducks officially open training camp to prepare for the 2017-18 campaign. Vatanen won’t be a full participant, however. The shoulder is repaired and its response to his activity has been encouraging. But it is going to take time before it feels right.

Count on sometime in November for the Finnish playmaking defender to see his first action – if all goes to plan.

“It’s not ready yet,” Vatanen said. “I’m progressing every day. I’ve been skating right now and doing a little bit of passing and shooting. It feels better every week. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and try not to have any setbacks.”

Last season was one Vatanen, 26, wants to push aside. His numbers plummeted to three goals and 24 points after consecutive seasons of 12 goals and 37 points and nine goals and 38 points. Injury and illness made him miss 11 regular-season games and the shoulder cost him five in the playoffs.

Examinations during that time made it clear that it had to be addressed following the season. Simple rehabilitation might have been on the table but wasn’t a realistic option.

“Of course it was much easier to just fix it now so that it doesn’t bother me,” he said. “If I would have started to rehab and it doesn’t work, then I would have had to do that anyways later. I think it was a good time for it right away after the season. Get healthy after that.”

The Ducks expect Hampus Lindholm also will be missing from their blue line to open the season. Vatanen and Lindholm both eat up more than 20 minutes of ice time per night and play in virtually all situations. Their absence is one reason the team brought back Francois Beauchemin for a third stint.

At one point, Vatanen seemed headed for the expansion Vegas Golden Knights after a down season. Ducks general manager Bob Murray wasn’t prepared to give him away for low-ball offers and, instead, sacrificed Shea Theodore to protect his veteran and Josh…

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