The Arizona Coyotes have been without Michael Grabner since early December, but he appears to be making progress towards a return.
Grabner was in high spirits the day after suffering the injury, posting a picture online joking about his moustache still being intact.
The speedy veteran winger has been away from the ice while his eye heals, with concerns about his vision still prevalent almost two months later.
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But it appears that the 31-year-old Austrian is making some significant progress and skated for the first time again earlier this week.
Per Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Grabner skated on Tuesday, but not with his teammates, as he works his way back from what could have been a career-ending injury.
Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet commented on Grabner’s progress, firmly stating that his player’s health is of the utmost importance, with hockey a very distant second.
Fans of the Arizona Coyotes will undoubtedly agree with this viewpoint, despite wishing to have the penalty-killing specialist back in the line-up.
“I’m not even worried about him playing, I’m worried about his daily life with him.” – Tocchet, per Arizona Sports 98.7 FM
Prior to his injury, Grabner registered six goals and 11 total points in 25 regular season games during his first season with the Coyotes.
Grabner, who has started in the offensive zone just 33.3% of the time this season, has four short-handed goals for the team and has decent possession numbers – with a 49.6% Corsi rating despite regularly being lined up in a defensive position.
He also blocked 13 shots, threw 16 hits and had an impressive 17 takeaways to just nine giveaways.
While it could be a stretch to see him back in the line-up before the end of the season, the positive progression that Grabner has made will be great news for all involved with the organisation.
Grabner is signed to two more seasons with the Arizona Coyotes, holding a cap hit of $3.35 million with a Modified No-Trade Clause until 2021.
What do you think of this positive news Coyotes fans? Will Grabner pull on a jersey again this season, or is he best served getting healthy with a view to returning in the summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!