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

Jake McCabe’s health issues have returned.

The Blackhawks defenseman will miss 10-12 weeks from Tuesday after undergoing cervical spine surgery, the team announced.

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

He missed all but 13 games of the 2021 pandemic-shortened season with the Sabres while recovering from knee surgery, too. He began last season shaky as a result of that long time off, too, but he managed to play in 75 of 82 games, averaging 20:18 of ice time per game 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. “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 early-season absence further explains why the Hawks signed free-agent defenseman Jack Johnson in order to have 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 –the Hawks’ numerous arguably NHL-ready prospect defensemen, including Ian Mitchell, Alec Regula and Alex Vlasic, will now have a spot in the opening night lineup to fight for.

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

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