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Shaw determined to make mark with Wild following knee injury

Forward prospect building confidence after missing most of last season

by Jessi Pierce / Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mason Shaw has a new appreciation for the game of hockey. That's his biggest takeaway from an ACL tear that derailed what looked to be a promising 2017-18 season.

The 19-year-old center, selected by the Minnesota Wild in the fourth round (No. 97) of the 2017 NHL Draft, is determined to pick up where he left off when he tore the ACL in his right knee on a routine play in the corner during the Traverse City Prospects Tournament in September.

"It's been a tough road to recovery here," Shaw said. "I think we're past the nine-month point, but it feels really good in skates and workouts and whatnot, so I'm pretty confident in how I'm feeling.

"It's just like anything else; you can't control what happened, but you can control how you respond. I tried to do a lot of work to get back here, and I'm confident where it's at now."

Shaw was coming off three productive seasons with Medicine Hat of the Western Hockey League. He had 94 points (27 goals, 67 assists) in 71 games in 2016-17, before missing most of last season because of the knee injury.

His only game last season came with Iowa of the American Hockey League on April 10 (he was scoreless). Seventeen days later, he signed a three-year entry-level contract with Minnesota.

"He came down to Iowa there and played in a game, and it was tough, you could tell it was hard on him," Wild director of player development Brad Bombardir said. "That injury is a lot about confidence, knowing you're healthy. It's tough.

"Probably three weeks ago he hit a mark where it's out of his brain. It's out of his mind where he's not thinking about it, and with that gone, we hope he can get to that next level. He still has a couple months here to get better, get strong."

Shaw likely will return to Medicine Hat, where he has 163 points (47 goals, 116 assists) in 161 games through three seasons.

"It's hard to not feel a part of it when you're not playing," Shaw said. "But what kept me motivated was just to be back here [at development camp] this summer. My goal was just to get healthy, and I worked hard to do that. I'm really close to [100 percent]. Maybe not quite 100 but come camp this fall, I hope to be there. They say it takes a full year until you feel completely 100 percent but as for game play, I feel like I'm 100 percent there.

"[An injury like this] makes you love the game, re-spark it. When it's taken away from you and you can't play, it definitely grows your appreciation for it."

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