Most of the Canes are using the informal skates at Raleigh Center Ice to get the their legs back, and defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti is no different.
But Sanguinetti also has another purpose: testing out his hip. He had surgery in mid-November for a tear in the labrum in his hip, missing 47 games for the Charlotte Checkers (AHL). While he did return to the Checkers' lineup in mid-March, he said he never felt 100 percent healthy.
"I don't know that I can put a number on it but I obviously wasn't where I needed to be," Sanguinetti said. "The goal was to get back and help the team as much as possible and get to the playoffs, and we did that. But it was a tough year for me, that's for sure.
"I feel really good now. I had the summer to work on it and get the strength back in the hip and just focus on that. I wanted to come in here and get back on the ice and get back up to game speed. Obviously it was a setback last year and a little bit of a disappointment."
A little bit? Sanguinetti smiled.
"Obviously not playing is a big setback," he said. "But I worked hard to get back and I'm excited for this year and excited to be healthy."
The Canes traded for Sanguinetti, a former first-round pick of the New York Rangers, during the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and there initially was some talk he might be able to secure an NHL roster spot. That didn't happen, and the hip problem and eventual surgery limited the Trenton, N.J., native to 31 regular-season and 10 playoff games for the Checkers last season.
Sanguinetti, 24, is a puck-moving defenseman with offensive skills and played five NHL games with the Rangers in 2009-2010. He could be hard-pressed to crack the Canes' roster out of training camp this season given the numbers on the back end but said he will go into camp with high expectations.
"I'm coming in with the mindset where I'm going to try to make the team," he said. "You've got to believe it for that to happen and that's where I am now."