Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews will miss training camp and the start of the upcoming season due to an illness, TSN reported Tuesday. This news comes after it was revealed centre Kirby Dach would miss the next four to five months following surgery on his right wrist.
So, obviously this is not great news for the Blackhawks.
Chicago is expected to make an official announcement pertaining to Toews later on Tuesday.
Dach, meanwhile, underwent successful surgery on his right wrist Monday.
The forward suffered a fracture during Team Canada’s pre-tournament exhibition contest against Russia at the 2021 World Junior Championship. Team doctors expect Dach to return to hockey-related activities in about four to five months, which pretty much establishes the timeline for return.
Dach collided with forward Ilya Safonov in the neutral zone in a game at Rogers Place on December 23, took his glove off and skated to the bench. He subsequently traveled to Chicago for further evaluation, which in turn led to the surgery.
Dach was named the captain of Team Canada at the World Juniors on December 18. This marked the first time since 2001 that a Blackhawks draft pick was set to serve as captain of the squad. Canada will now turn to Bowen Byram and Dylan Cozens to fill the role.
“Kirby was excited to represent Canada and captain our team at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, and our players, coaches and staff are all disappointed he will not be able to participate this year,” Hockey Canada senior vice-president of national teams Scott Salmond said. “We recognize Kirby’s commitment and leadership and know how eager he was for the opportunity to proudly represent his country at the World Juniors.”
Dach is a critical part of the Blackhawks’ rebuild for the 2020-2021 season and he’s received praise for being a complete player, tempering his offensive prowess with a defensive focus.
Dach averaged 19:24 of ice time per game in the playoffs last season, putting him fifth on the team. He scored six points in nine post-season games and 23 points in 64 regular season games.
In October, Chicago released a letter describing their rebuild process. This season was expected to be a significant step in that direction, with a focus on Dach and other young skaters. The Blackhawks are also without forward Alex Nylander, who had knee surgery last week and could miss the whole season.