With his surgically repaired right shoulder resting in a sling, Luke Gazdic had no choice but to look ahead to next season.

The Edmonton Oilers rookie left the lineup after the March 30 contest against the New York Rangers to have a torn labrum remedied. Gazdic’s surgeon not only operated on Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Ales Hemsky, he also fixed the rookie’s left shoulder back when he was playing junior hockey.

“It will do nothing but help me. It will strengthen things up,” said Gazdic, who had been playing — and fighting — with the injury for over a month. It wasn’t until he had an MRI that the extent of the damage was revealed.

“At least it won’t be something I’ll be thinking about all the time now. It’s fixed, it’s done. And I’ll be stronger for it.

“I probably could have finished the year, but sitting and talking with the coaches and management, there were seven, eight games left at the time and they just said, ‘Listen, the two weeks we get now contribute to the rehab at the end of the summer, so get it done.’ ”

Claimed off the waiver wire in September after the Dallas Stars attempted to send him to their American Hockey League affiliate — and after Steve MacIntyre was injured in a pre-season game — Gazdic made the most of his first NHL opportunity.

He has been a fearless fighter and he wants nothing more than a chance to gobble up more minutes. That’s why he was talking Tuesday about improving his skating and puck handling and playing a simple game, starting with the need to get pucks out of his own end.