The NHL preseason has been unkind to defenceman Taylor Fedun in the past.
During the 2011-12 exhibition campaign, Fedun raced back to his own net to force an icing call. He went ankle-first into the end boards and fractured his femur.
With an injury as serious as Fedun’s, there was speculation as to whether or not he could recover fully and be the same player as before that horrific injury.
“Nobody knew what was going to happen or how he was going to react,” said Oklahoma City Barons Head Coach Todd Nelson. “He was a bit of a step behind at the start of last year but he worked his way up to the pace that he needed to be.
“Right now, he’s looking good out there and hopefully that continues. He had to battle hard back from that injury and he overcame it. So that’s a testament to him.”
Fedun suited up for the Oilers once again in preseason action last night in Calgary, against the Flames. It was an emotional experience for the 25-year-old.
“It was pretty awesome,” said Fedun. “I took an extra minute to put (my jersey) on to kind of let it soak in again. A lot has happened since the last time I threw it on. I wanted to make sure my head is where it needs to be and it’s a pretty special thing to be able to put on that jersey.”
Fedun’s road to recovery hit overdrive last season when he skated with the Barons in the American Hockey League in full-time game action.
“I think when you look at last year, at the start of the year, he’s coming back off that leg injury and it took him pretty much up until Christmas time or New Year’s to really get feeling really well,” said Coach Nelson.
With his first season back from injury out of the way, Fedun now focuses on his future with the Oilers organization and in professional hockey.
The Oilers agreed to terms with Fedun on a one-year contract in July. The signing is following a season in OKC in which the defenceman played in 70 games, registering eight goals and 19 assists.
In his first NHL action last night since his injury in 2011, Fedun performed well. He had two assists and skated nearly 15 minutes for the Oilers in a 3-2 win over Calgary.
“There was definitely some good things out there,” said Fedun. “I think both of the assists I got, they were about five foot passes. I just gave the puck to someone who did the rest of the work. It’s nice when something like that pays off.”
Fedun’s second assist was a short, heads-up pass to David Perron who scored Edmonton’s second goal of the game.
“I think I’m still getting used to some of the systems and in the D-zone I needed to sharpen up a little bit but some of the plays were out there and I think it was a good start.”
“I think (last night) he picked it up where he left off last year with (OKC) in the playoffs and he had a strong game,” added Nelson. “He moved the puck well and he was pretty solid defensively. So we are happy with the way he played.”
It was a long road to recovery but Fedun has performed admirably in his return and has earned the chance to put on the blue and orange once again for the team that supported him the whole way.
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