By Aaron Vickers – CalgaryFlames.com
CALGARY, AB — Daniel Pribyl isn’t certain he’ll be 100 percent by the time training camp opens for the Calgary Flames.
But the forward certainly feels he’s moving in the right direction as he recovers from offseason knee surgery.
“It’s pretty good,” said Pribyl, who underwent ACL surgery in May. “I started doing some stuff on the ice a little bit. We’ll see what’s going to happen right now, but it’s going pretty good. It’s nice to be out there again. I have to just take little steps. I can feel it sometimes, but it’s really getting better.”
The Flames like Pribyl’s progress.
But the right winger isn’t about to be rushed into being ready when camp breaks in mid-September.
“We’re real happy with his progress,” Calgary assistant general manager Brad Pascall said. “He’s a guy that is a driven player and I think has worked hard. A lot of it he’s had to do on his own in rehab and training and he’s just starting to hit the ice. We have a timeline that we’re working on with him. In this situation we’re not going to rush it. We’re going to make sure he’s at 100 percent. We’re confident he’s on a really strong path to recovery.
“I think it’s like anything with this type of injury. When you’re in the final stretch, you want to make sure he’s at 100 percent. We’re monitoring it at 7-10 days at a time and seeing what the progression is. He’ll be a decision as we approach camp, the days before, to see exactly where he’s at.”
Pribyl signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Flames in late April following a 16-goal, 45-point season with Sparta Praha of the Czech Extraliga.
“It’s been great. Everything,” Pribyl said. “I’ve stayed pretty much in Calgary the whole time here. I’m trying to get into some habits here and try to make it feel like home here. It’s nice. It’s interesting to recognize what you see. I am more comfortable with everything. I really am. It’s getting more comfortable every day.”
The 23-year-old has, according to Pascall, made a seamless adjustment thus far.
“I think for anybody, if you just look at your own self, if all of a sudden you got up and moved to Europe and did the same thing, there’s going to be differences,” Pascall said. “He’s in the same boat, especially when you’re limited. When he first got here he was on crutches and was doing rehab and was on limited movement to get around.
“Doing our research on him and the character person that he is, we feel that he’s adjusted well. He’s a player that our guys were excited about and we’re looking forward to him getting healthy and getting back into playing shape and getting on the ice and seeing what he can do.”
The contract marks Pribyl’s first foray into hockey in North America.
The 6-foot-3 forward was originally drafted by Montreal in the sixth round (No. 168) of the 2011 NHL Draft. He’s spent the past six seasons with Sparta Praha and has skated in 174 games, recording 47 goals and 109 points, and adding 11 goals and 24 points in 37 postseason games.
He won’t be rushed into his first action as a member of the Flames, though.
“With this type of injury, history has shown that it takes a little while that, even when you are cleared, to get back at 100 percent of just your overall movements and timing and what have you,” Pascall said.
“But the timing of this really being in the summer anyway … if there’s one positive to take, that would be it, where he’s not missing out on four or six months of regular season action. I think that’s a positive. We’re just going to play it cautious and make sure he’s at 100 percent and not rush anything.”