Health problems behind him, Dominic Turgeon focused on making Red Wings

Ted Kulfan
The Detroit News
Dominic Turgeon

Detroit — Dominic Turgeon is fine now, but late last season Turgeon wasn’t sure where his career was headed.

While the Grand Rapids Griffins were in Texas in April, Turgeon noticed his right arm wasn’t right. 

“One day my arm just kind of got swollen, kind of got big,” said Turgeon, one of the Red Wings’ top forward prospects. “I thought it was from an elbow problem at first, then it never really went away.

“Eventually I got it checked out and I needed surgery right away.”

More: Martin Frk ready to battle (again) for a Red Wings roster spot

Turgeon was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, a blood clot having formed in his arm.

Turgeon missed the final days of the Griffins’ regular season and entire first-round playoff loss, following surgery to remove the clot and a rib.

Hockey was suddenly on the backburner for Turgeon as his health became his top priority. 

“It definitely was scary,” Turgeon said. “I didn’t know much of it at the time, but stuff happens in life. Thankfully the recovery went well.

“They said a lot of pitchers or even tennis players get it. It’s very rare for hockey players.”

Turgeon has been training most of the summer and hasn't felt any negative effects from the surgery. He has been skating with other Red Wings players during these informal workouts at Little Caesars Arena leading into training camp later this week.

“I was on blood thinners for three months, so I had no contact until I got off those,” Turgeon said. “I slowly started training after six weeks or so, just riding the bike a bit, some body exercises, and doing some weights.”

Turgeon, 22, a second-round selection of the Red Wings in 2014, reached the NHL last season, playing five games with the Wings in January (no points). He played 69 games in Grand Rapids, with 32 points (14 goals, 18 assists).

With Henrik Zetterberg (back) unlikely to play this season, there’s another possible opening on the Red Wings roster among the forwards.

Turgeon, a fine defensive center, sees a realistic chance to reach the NHL on opening night.

“My mindset is to come to (training) camp and be strong,” Turgeon said. “Being a strong two-way player, being good on faceoffs, good on the penalty kill, and also provide offense. I’m just going to play the best hockey I can.”

Turgeon felt he progressed in Grand Rapids last season, his second in the American League.

“Made a leap from year one in G.R.,” said Turgeon, whose father Pierre was a long-time NHL player. “My main focus coming into the year was providing more offense. I felt I did that and overall it was a great year.

“It was a dream to be in the (NHL in January). To get a taste of it, you definitely get that drive and want to be back there. Having that motivation, especially throughout the summer, is a big help.”

Wings advance to finals

The prospects in the Red Wings’ organization are offering hope.

The Wings’ prospects defeated the New York Rangers 5-0 Monday in Traverse City in the Prospects Tournament to reach Tuesday’s championship game against Columbus.

Joe Veleno (two goals), Axel Holmstrom, Zach Gallant (shorthanded) Michael Rasmussen (power play) scored goals, while goalie Patrik Rybar earned the shutout.

The Red Wings finished 2-1-0 in the tournament’s round robin format.

Red Wings training camp 

When: Friday through Sept. 18, practices and scrimmages from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. daily, except for Sunday, when there will be the Red and White Game at noon.

Where: City Centre ICE Arena, Traverse City