Kris Letang has been cleared to be a full participant when the Pittsburgh Penguins open training camp this week.
Letang, whose 2016-17 season officially ended in April due to neck surgery, last played on Feb. 21. He was given a four-to-six month timeline for a recovery after the procedure to repair a herniated disk.
Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford said this weekend the team's coaching staff will likely choose to take their time getting Letang back up to game speed.
"I would expect a regular workload and I'm sure that's what he expects," Rutherford told NHL.com. "He wants to play 40 minutes a game, but I think the coaches will just take it a day or a week or a game at a time and see where it goes.
"I would suspect that he would probably ease his way into the preseason and then go from there."
Prior to his injury, the 30-year-old had five goals and 34 points for the Penguins last season. He averaged 25:31 minutes on the ice per game in 41 contests last year, four and half more minutes than any of his teammates.
Rutherford said the return of the three-time all-star helps ease the pain of off-season losses in free agency.
"Letang is healthy now and he makes up for a lot, even with the loss of (Trevor) Daley and (Ron) Hainsey," Rutherford said.
The Penguins also added free agent Matt Hunwick to their blueline on July 1.