Aleksander Barkov of the Florida Panthers made an appearance at the team’s development camp last week to show to everyone that his rehabilitation process is going well. Barkov suffered a knee injury during the 2013-14 campaign which cut short his rookie season.
Panthers general manager Dale Tallon mentioned that he had nothing to prove to either him or the franchise and it was simply a step to ensure he was going to be ready for training camp in the fall.
During his rookie year, Barkov played 54 games as center of the first line. He recorded eight goals and 16 assists before the injury kept him off the ice.
He was injured during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games and with the Panthers not making it to the playoffs, there was no need to rush his return. Now, Barkov is eager and ready to play. “I got injured in the Olympics and was pretty sad about that,” Barkov said. “My season ended pretty early. I want to play right now. I can’t wait until the next season.”
Despite enjoying his time during those 54 games, he wants the experience on ice to better him as a player and only time in action can do that. Hopefully the coming season will help Barkov increase his play and perhaps take on a leadership role on the team. Barkov has shown that he can be an excellent puck handler, however coaching staff wants him to become more assertive and begin shooting more.
Brian Skrudland, currently the Panthers director of player development, said that Barkov “is going to be a superstar in this league. I can’t wait to watch him. I had the opportunity of spending every day with him last year and his work ethic, both on and off the field, is unmatched. That is goign to allow him to stay in this game a long time.”
Needless to say, you can expect this to be merely the beginning for this rookie player.