Caleb Jones’ impressive training camp performance for the Blackhawks won’t lead to an opening-day appearance after all.
Two days after Jones began missing practice due to “left wrist soreness,” the Hawks announced Friday the defenseman will be out for approximately six weeks due to a strained wrist.
“Sometimes it’s how it works: something that looks totally innocuous turned into more of a long-term thing,” coach Jeremy Colliton explained. “[We] can’t control that stuff.”
Jones played in three preseason games before suffering the injury and had seemingly established himself as a strong third-pairing option for the Hawks. While not as dynamic as his older brother, the 24-year-old ex-Oiler stood out due to his ability to jump in at smart times to contribute offensively without sacrificing defensive responsibility.
“He’s been battling for a couple of years to break through and solidify a spot and a role,” Colliton said. “He had a really good camp. He came in and made an excellent impression.”
With Jones out until mid-November and Wyatt Kalnyuk also out two-to-four weeks with an ankle injury, the Hawks’ defensive depth will be tested.
Ian Mitchell, who once looked destined for the AHL, practiced on the third pairing in practice Friday alongside Riley Stillman. Prospect Jakub Galvas, another surprising camp standout entering his first North American pro season, could also very well make the opening roster.
“It’ll be an opportunity for somebody,” Colliton said. “A lot of times, that’s how you build defensive depth: Guys getting opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise get. Hopefully they run with it and then you have a bigger group than you thought when everyone comes back.”