CALGARY, AB --
The 2010-11 campaign was supposed to mark pivot Mitch Wahl
's first full professional season but just 17 games in, his career came to a screeching halt.
Caught with his head down, Aaron Volpatti of the Manitoba Moose steamrolled Wahl and left him with a concussion that would sideline him for over 60 games.
For some players, that kind of hit could leave them timid and unsure as they attempt to make a comeback.
Wahl is not one of those players.
The smile the 21 year-old sported heading into fitness testing on Monday hasn't left his face all week and his on-ice peformance has been impressive.
"It was really frustrating for me, missing 63 games I think it was," he admitted. "With a concussion, it's something that you can't really do much about it. I tried everything I could to recover from it and it was a long process for me.
"I'm 100 per cent healthy now. I'm happy about that. My summer has been going really well. I feel like I'm in really good shape. I feel good on the ice so I'm feeling confident and happy again."
Wahl was treated by doctors both in Abottsford and Calgary but due to the unpredictable nature of concussions, Wahl was stuck waiting for signs of improvement.
"Everyone's different with their head and their concussion, recovery is different. You just have go through the protocol and see how you feel and how you respond and go from there.
"For me, I'd go through it, hit a couple of bumps in the road and have to start back at square one, but I finally got to that point of feeling good all the time."
In order to be fully prepared for both development camp and the Flames main training camp later in the summer, Wahl has spent the last month in Calgary working with strength and conditioning coach Rich Hesketh.
"I'm just going to forget about last year," he said. "There's nothing I can do about it, it's out of my control."
While the playmaking center would like to forget last season, he may want to look to his past for a bit of inspiration as he tries to make an impact with the Flames.
Wahl had great success with the Spokane Chiefs during his WHL tenure. He provided consistent point production while maintaining defensive responsiblity. He regularly played against the opposition's top lines, can be put into all situations and won't back down from any form of physicality.
The Long Beach, CA native has also been praised for his maturity on and off the ice. He's composed while he's play and provides excellent leadership in the locker room.
While he knows there is likely more AHL time in his future, Wahl plans on pressing hard for a spot with the Flames this fall.
"There's some spots open on this team so I'm going to do everything I can to be there."Follow Torie Peterson on Twitter | @ToriePeterson