Rickard Rakell, 23, will be back in time to suit up for the Ducks at the tail end of the pre-season as long as Anaheim can ink the restricted free agent to a new deal.
The past week has been a bizarre one for Anaheim Ducks pivot Rickard Rakell, but after a mysterious illness resulted in him being replaced on Sweden’s World Cup squad, it appears he’s on his way to recovering.
The Ducks announced that Rakell, 23, has undergone surgery to remove scar tissue related to the appendectomy that he underwent this past season. As a result of the surgery to remove the scar tissue, Rakell will need two weeks off of training, meaning he won’t be able to hit the ice again until two weeks before the start of the new campaign.
Rakell’s injury was a bizarre and unexpected one that hit just days before the World Cup was slated to begin. After playing less than 14 minutes in Sweden’s pre-tournament opener, Rakell wound up sitting out the club’s second exhibition game and it was later announced that he didn’t travel with the team to North America for the start of the tournament. Neither the team or medical staff knew what was ailing Rakell, and he spent much of the past week undergoing tests in a Swedish hospital.
Because of the unknown nature of Rakell’s injury and the possibility — and now fact — that he would miss time, the Swedish team replaced him on the squad with 28-year-old Patrik Berglund. He played a limited role in Sweden’s final pre-tournament game, but did not suit up against Russia in the opening game of the World Cup.
Now that the source of Rakell’s injury has been discovered, the hope is he can get back to full speed before the campaign begins. A two-week timeline for recovery would put Rakell back in the lineup in time for the final few pre-season games before the season begins, though there’s another big hurdle for Anaheim and Rakell to take care of before that can become a possibility: a contract.
As it stands, Rakell is a restricted free agent coming off of a 20-goal, 43-point campaign in which he found a regular spot in the Ducks’ top-six. With Rakell’s combination of size, speed and versatility, Anaheim would love to lock him up, but new contracts for both he and Hampus Lindholm paired with a mere $7.52 million in available cap space, according to CapFriendly, have complicated things.
Close comparables for Rakell include Toronto Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri, Carolina Hurricanes center Victor Rask, Calgary Flames winger Mikael Backlund and Ducks teammate Jakob Silfverberg. Each earn in the $4 million range per season, and that could be exactly what it takes for Rakell to sign. If he remains without a deal as the season approaches, there’s a possibility that Rakell remains on the shelf into October.
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