Micheal Ferland, wearing a no-contact jersey, skated with teammates at practice with the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The forward has missed all but two games since Oct. 30 because of a concussion.
"It's never fun skating alone by yourself, so [it was] definitely fun to get out there and be back with the guys and be around here on the team again," Ferland said. "I think one more skate with the guys, another good bag skate, and then I think I'm good to start practicing with full contact and everything."
Ferland has five points (one goal, four assists) in 14 games this season for the Canucks, who signed him to a four-year, $14 million contract (average annual value $3.5 million) on July 10. He was placed on injured reserve by Vancouver on Nov. 1, two days after being injured in a game against the Los Angeles Kings.
Video: VAN@STL: Ferland finds the rebound and taps it home
Ferland has missed 41 of the past 43 games. He returned to the lineup against the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 7 after missing 17 games and played two games before his symptoms reoccurred; he was placed on long-term injured reserve Dec. 14 and has missed another 24 games.
He said he plans to skate in another practice with the Canucks before going to Utica, Vancouver's affiliate in the American Hockey League, for a conditioning assignment.
"One more skate with the team, and then I think I'm good enough to get down and practice with Utica and start playing, he said. "I haven't had any symptoms here for a while, and we're just kind of taking our time with it.
"We're not just jumping right into play tomorrow, we want to make sure I'm 100 percent. The plan is to go down to Utica and play. … Go down however long I can go down, make sure I'm 100 percent healthy, there's nothing going on, and then obviously the plan is for me to come back and play for sure this year."
The Canucks go for their 10th consecutive victory at home when they host the Calgary Flames on Saturday (10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, NHL.TV).
NHL.com independent correspondent Kevin Woodley contributed to this report