CALGARY, AB -- Every prospect at the Calgary Flames development camp is itching to hit the ice this week but it is unlikely anyone's excitement matches Patrick Sieloff's.
The defenceman has been battling back from a tumultuous 2013-14 season which saw him play just two games with the Abbotsford Heat before being shut down for the rest of the year after being struck with a staph infection.
The team opted to send the 20-year-old back home for treatment and he was admitted to the University of Michigan hospital for a lengthy period of time.
Sieloff, who was the Flames second round pick in the 2012 NHL Draft, was immobile for a month and wasn't allowed to break a sweat for eight weeks. He was also hooked up to a portable intravenous for a period of time, which had to be changed every 24 hours.
After being medically cleared to begin light workouts, Sieloff headed to Calgary in January and has been working away at getting himself back into game shape.
It's been an arduous process full of baby steps, making slow but steady progress over the last six months.
So, it's understandable why he has been eagerly anticipating the Flames development camp.
"It's so great to be here," he told CalgaryFlames.com. "I've been feeling good all summer. There hasn't been any hiccups or anything. For me, this is camp ... it's staying on the ice and staying healthy.
"I can build confidence off of those two things."
The team and Sieloff felt the Ann Arbor, MI native was best served by staying in Calgary through the majority of his recovery process. He was able to work out with the Flames during the season and learned the ins and outs of being a pro.
"Being around [NHLers], whether you're at the games or practices, there are teaching points - things you don't see when you're playing but things you see when you're off the ice," he told CalgaryFlames.com earlier this year. "It's good. I get to watch video and take it all it."
In addition to getting on the ice as often as possible, Sieloff has altered his training regimen in order to help himself become more durable and withstand the rigors of professional hockey. That meant going back to square one with even the simplest exercises.
"I've been working on the little things. I've been getting back to the basic fundamentals while I'm training. I started from rock bottom and have worked my way up, starting from scratch.
Other than heading back to Michigan for a couple of weeks, Sieloff plans on staying and training in Calgary throughout the off-season. His development hit a snag with the season he lost but he still has his sights set on the ultimate goal: landing a spot on the Flames roster.
"I'm going to be spending more time on the ice for the rest of the summer, ramping it up because in the season, you're on the ice every day," he explained. "I just need to build my confidence back up. My main goal is still to play in the NHL and I think one day I can be there. I just need to keep working at it, every day.
"I can't wait to get the season going."
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