Mats Sundin expects to make his debut with the Vancouver Canucks this week, perhaps as early as Wednesday.
Sundin, 37, hasn't played in the NHL since last spring, but he confirmed Tuesday that there is a "good chance" he will suit up Wednesday at Edmonton.
"If nothing changes until tomorrow morning, I think it should be a good chance I will play tomorrow," Sundin told reporters following Tuesday's practice. "If not, then obviously Friday [home to St. Louis]."
"Tomorrow, hopefully, will be his first game of what we are all hoping is going to be a successful run here," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. "The only way to get him to the pace the NHL is at right now is to put him in and put him in gradually and let him work through the little inactivity."
Sundin arrived in Vancouver on Dec. 30 and has participated in two full practices, flanked by wingers Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood and centring the second power-play unit.
"Of course, you're looking forward to get back playing the game," Sundin said. "But at the same time, I want to make sure I'm ready physically, so I can stay in the lineup and not come back too quick and get hurt."
Sundin had spent the past nine months mulling over whether to retire or to return for an 18th NHL season, but the Canucks remained steadfast in their pursuit of him.
He signed a one-year contract — pro-rated for the remainder of the season — on Dec. 18.
Sundin earned $5.5 million US last season, when he led the Toronto Maple Leafs with 32 goals and 78 points in 74 games.
The former Maple Leafs captain has compiled 555 goals and 1,321 points in 1,305 NHL games since he was drafted No. 1 overall by the Quebec Nordiques in 1989.
A nine-time all-star, he is Toronto's all-time leader in goals (420) and points (987).