Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe out 10-12 weeks after spine surgery

McCabe likely won’t return until late November or early December, opening up an early-season spot in the Hawks’ defensive lineup.

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Jake McCabe will miss the start of this season after appearing in 75 games last season.

Jake McCabe will miss the start of this season after appearing in 75 games last season.

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Jake McCabe’s health is an issue again.

The Blackhawks defenseman will miss

10-12 weeks from Tuesday after undergoing cervical spine surgery, the team said.

That puts his return in late November or early December, meaning he’ll likely miss the first 15-25 games of the season.

McCabe missed all but 13 games of the 2021 pandemic-shortened season with the Sabres while recovering from knee surgery. After signing with the Hawks as a free agent last July, he began the 2021-22 season shaky as a result of his long time off but still managed to play in 75 of 82 games, averaging 20:18 of ice time and recording four goals, 18 assists and 166 hits.

He said in April he was “pretty unhappy” with how his first Hawks season went, particularly from a team perspective.

“Yeah, it sucks,” he said then. “But I’m committed to helping turn this thing around here and continuing to work my butt off every night and trying to help us find a culture and identity here.”

McCabe’s absence further explains why the Hawks signed free agent Jack Johnson, a move that gives them six established NHL defensemen under contract. With only five immediately available — and that assumes Connor Murphy, coming off a major concussion, is good to go — a number of defensemen prospects, including Ian Mitchell, Alec Regula and Alex Vlasic, will have a spot to compete for in the opening night lineup.

The Hawks also announced Tuesday that forward Jalen Luypen, a 2021 seventh-round pick who signed his entry-level contract in August, will miss 14 to 18 weeks because of an injury to his left rotator cuff.

The injury news comes just a day before the start of the Hawks’ prospect showcase series — practices begin Wednesday ahead of exhibition games against the Wild on Friday and Sunday — and eight days before the start of full training camp.

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