Dallas Stars captain Jamie Benn said Wednesday he is ahead of schedule after having surgery on each hip and will be ready for the season opener.
"I think Oct. 8 is when I will be 100 percent ready to go," he said, referring to the first game of 2015-16 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Benn, last season's NHL scoring leader, had surgery on one hip in late April and on the other in early May. Recovery time was expected to be 4-5 months but perhaps as long as six.
"I think I am ahead of schedule," Benn told the Stars website. "We still have a long time to go here before training camp and the season starts, so I am in no rush. I am going to take it day by day, nice and slow. I think the main thing is that I don't want any setbacks. I am definitely happy with my progress."
Benn skated for the second time since the surgeries between sessions at Stars development camp in Frisco, Texas.
"As you guys saw, I wasn't doing too much out there," he said. "I don't think I mixed a crossover in; I was just working on the edges, feeling out the hips a bit and the groins. But it did feel good to be out there."
Benn had a hat trick and an assist to win the Art Ross Trophy on the final day of the regular season; he finished with 87 points (35 goals, 52 assists), one point ahead of New York Islanders center John Tavares.
Benn played all 82 games despite the hip injuries. He has been rehabbing in the Dallas area.
"It's been going pretty good," he said. "I haven't been really doing too much. I have been taking it day by day. It's definitely nice to get back here out on the ice now. I probably won't be skating every day, but a couple times a week. And I'll be sticking with my off-ice plan."
Benn had arthroscopic surgery on his hip May 4 to shave a bony growth on the head of his femur and repair cartilage damage. It was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, where Benn had the first procedure April 27.
Benn's second surgery was less traumatic than his first, Stars head athletic trainer Dave Zeis told the Dallas Morning News at the time. He said that because the traction needed was too difficult to do both hips at one time, doctors chose to perform the less-complicated procedure second to help speed recovery.
"It's a major surgery," general manager Jim Nill told the Stars website in mid-April. "But he'll bounce back from it and probably be a better player than he is now."