Center Darren Helm also appears to make his season debut Saturday night against the Edmonton Oilers.
“Everything I’ve been told is positive,” Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “He told us he has no issues with his back or his groin.”
If Helm does return to the lineup, he would have missed 89 of the Wings’ last 91 games.
He last played on Jan. 25.
“I feel good,” Helm said before the team left on their four-game road trip to Western Canada. “There’s a pretty good chance I’ll get in sometime during the road trip.”
The final decision won’t be made until after the morning skate in Edmonton.
“I don’t know if there was really one day that all the sudden I woke up and started doing jumping jacks,” Helm said. “We took it pretty slow. Even when I said I wasn’t skating I was still on the ice doing a few things. It was just a long process. It was an 18-month battle to get ready.”
Helm originally was sidelined with a back problem and then his groin became an issue.
And during his recent two-day conditioning stint with the Grand Rapids Griffins, where he played two games in two nights, he suffered a slight setback with his groin.
“The back is always going to be a little stiff and sore,” Helm said. “It feels good when I’m on the ice. It’s not getting worse. I pushed through it harder. I don’t think it’s an issue. (The) groin (I’ve) just got to keep testing in practice.”
If Helm is able to play, the Wings will place defenseman Jonathan Ericsson on long-term injured reserve to free up a roster spot and cap space.
Ericsson is already on short-term injured reserve with a separated shoulder.
Goalie Jonas Gustavsson won’t be able to backup starter Jimmy Howard suffering from a stick neck according to Holland.
Holland said that Gustavsson suffered the injury during warmups in Vancouver on Wednesday.
The team had to recall Petr Mrazek from Grand Rapids to backup Howard tonight in Calgary.