It's the third day of the Calgary Flames 2007 prospect training camp and Eric Nystrom is all smiles. And so he should be. A shoulder injury took away most of his season last year but his hard work and rehab have him back at 100 per cent.
"I've got full mobility. Full strength. There's no limitations. I was able to train all summer," said Nystrom, the Flames first round draft pick in 2002.
That's good news for Nystrom as he begins the annual battle for a spot on the Flames roster. A battle that was cut short last season because of the injury. After starting strong in ast year's training camp, Nystrom hurt the shoulder in a pre-season game against the Edmonton Oilers. "I got hurt in pre-season and tried to come back. Every time I did it kept hurting and hurting more. It hurt so much that I couldn't play through it anymore. I had to get it fixed."
So, last December Nystrom had surgery to repair a tear in his right shoulder. The injury basically cost him a season of development -- he played just 12 regular season games for Omaha, Calgary's top affiliate in the American Hockey League last season. He returned for five playoff games but really never fuly healed until last summer.
Always upbeat, the son of New York Islander great Bob Nystrom, isn't letting last season's injury get him down. He is here to make the big team -- much like his teammate from the University of Michigan, David Moss
, did last season.
"I've always wanted to make this team," said Nystrom. "Last season it got cut short because I got hurt in the pre-season. But everything is good right now. I'm happy to be back and I am ready to go. It's been good to get two or three tugh skates in here because I had been off the game for a while. Summer hockey just isn't the same as being out there and practising. I have to get the timing back but it feels great."
Among the workouts that Nystrom went through over the weekend was some power skating -- something the Flames implemented last season.
"If you take two or three things out of it you are improving. It is a lot ot put into your game but if you take a little bit and become a better skater, you become a better hockey player. It is definitely important."
What else is important from Nystrom's perspective is the fact that, with a lost season behind him, he is back, healthy and ready to play.