Sep 23: When training camp started this week and McCabe was on the ice, it was a surprising sight given how recently the team announced he had surgery. Turns out, McCabe actually had that surgery six weeks ago, so he is already halfway through his recovery according to Tracey Myers of NHL.com.
Sep 13: The Chicago Blackhawks will not have Jake McCabe in the lineup when the season begins, as he recently underwent cervical spine surgery and will be out for 10-12 weeks. McCabe is entering the second season of a four-year, $16MM contract he signed in 2021. Prospect Jalen Luypen will also be out for 14-18 weeks after suffering a rotator cuff injury.
It’s a tough blow for a player that has dealt with injury throughout his career, including a knee issue that took almost all of 2020-21 and limited his play early last season. McCabe eventually would suit up 75 times for the Blackhawks, setting a career-high with 22 points while averaging more than 20 minutes a night.
Now, with a timeline that could potentially take him out until December, McCabe will be fighting another uphill battle. Still just 28 years old, there’s plenty of time for him to recover and get back to being a capable NHL defenseman, but where he fits into Chicago’s future isn’t clear. The team is in a tank phase as they move through a rebuild, and will soon want to give their younger options a chance to show what they can do at the NHL level. That isn’t right away — as shown by the Jack Johnson signing — but it’s hard to see McCabe being a regular contributor by the time the team is ready to compete again.
For now, it is just another long rehab for McCabe to go through. To this point in his nine-year NHL career, he has yet to play in more than 77 games during a single season.