Dallas Stars are hoping to have captain Jamie Benn back in the lineup for two of their remaining three pre-season games as he continues his recovery from off season surgery.
Head coach Lindy Ruff spoke to Mark Stepneski of the Stars official website on Saturday, outlining Benn’s planned return to action this week as the club make their final preparations for the new season.
The 27-year-old went under the knife to repair a core muscle injury in mid-July with an initial six-week timetable for recovery. Benn is behind schedule in that regard, ultimately missing the World Cup of Hockey as a result, but Dallas general manager Jim Nill insisted in August that the star would be fit and ready for the start of the NHL campaign.
Dallas are scheduled to take on Florida and Colorado at the American Airlines Center on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively before travelling to Los Angeles on Friday for their final pre-season game.
The Stars then open their 2016-17 regular season campaign on home ice against Anaheim Ducks on Friday, October 14.
Benn registered 41 goals and 89 points in 82 games last season, earning himself a Hart Trophy nomination in the process. In all he has scored 192 goals and 448 points in 508 career NHL games for the Stars, forming a devastating partnership with Tyler Seguin over the past three years during which he has notched up an incredible 110 goals and 255 points in 245 games.
He signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the organisation on July 15, which will kick in next season.