It appears as if Alex Stalock will be able to continue his professional career.
The Edmonton Oilers placed Stalock on waivers Friday afternoon, marking the next step in the 34-year-old's return to hockey after being diagnosed with a heart condition in September that was expected to keep him out for the entire 2021-22 season.
Stalock reportedly developed the condition after contracting COVID-19 prior to the pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign.
Despite that dire prognosis, Stalock has completely outpaced his recovery timeline, with doctors reportedly clearing the veteran netminder to return to physical activity yesterday and therefore opening the door for him to return to play in the near future.
Stalock did not actually play for the Oilers last season after being claimed on waivers from the Minnesota Wild, spending the bulk of the year on Edmonton's taxi squad after goaltenders Troy Grosenick and Anton Forsberg were scooped up by other teams.
Regardless, Stalock has built himself an admirable career as an NHL backup over nine seasons, with a 61-49-18 record and a .909 save percentage in 151 total games.
In his last full season, coming in 2019-20, Stalock racked up a decent 20-11-4 record in 38 appearances for the Wild, finishing with a .910 save percentage and a 2.67 goals-against average.
While this heart condition was once thought to have brought about the end of Stalock's career, the news that he is on his way back to hockey's highest level is a ray of sunshine we could all use.