CHICAGO — It looks like Jonathan Toews is going to be on the shelf for a while.
The Chicago Blackhawks captain and top-line center, who missed all of training camp and the season opener with an unspecified illness, was officially placed him on long-term injured reserve Thursday.
The Hawks also placed Kirby Dach on LTIR. The center broke his wrist last month playing for Canada in the IIHF World Junior tournament.
Brent Seabrook will remain on injured reserve with a lower back injury.
According to collective bargaining agreement rules on long-term injured reserve, if a player is ruled “unfit” to play for a period of at least 10 games and 24 calendar days, a team can exceed the upper salary limit to replace that player.
While Toews and the Hawks have declined to share details of the nature of Toews’ medical issue, the roster move clarifies that he’ll be out of action for nearly a month at least.
The earliest Toews could return would be Feb. 7 against the Stars in Dallas, meaning he would miss the next 11 games — but it could be longer or even the entire season.
Dach’s recovery from wrist surgery may take four to five months, according to the team.
The loss of both Toews and Dach has been a blow the top two lines that each of them centered, as well as the power play. The team traded top-liner Brandon Saad to the Colorado Avalanche in the offseason.
The Hawks have had to shuffle the lines and formed a new top unit centered by Dylan Strome, with Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat on the wings.
The trio had some uneven play in training camp and a shaky start in the season opener, but at least they’re familiar with each other and have shown enough chemistry to build on.
Also, the Hawks may experiment with different combinations until they find one that works.
Toews also was a leader in the locker room, which is harder to replace.
“Not sure how long Tazer’s out, but obviously we’re wishing him the best and hopefully he figures out what’s wrong with him,” Strome said Monday.
“You never want to see your captain — or anyone on your team — go down,” Strome said Monday. “Kirby’s just an unfortunate injury.”(c)2021 the Chicago Tribune Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.