Jonathan Toews is expected to play for the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time in more than a year against the Detroit Red Wings in a preseason game Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NHLN [JIP], NBCSCH+).
The 33-year-old captain missed last season with chronic immune response syndrome. He has participated in all five days the Blackhawks have held training camp this month, including a three-period scrimmage (15 minutes each period) Tuesday.
Toews has not played since Aug. 18, 2020 in Game 5 of the Western Conference First Round when he scored one goal in a 4-3 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights that eliminated the Blackhawks from the best-of-7 series.
Toews is projected to be the center on a line with Dominik Kubalik at left wing and Philipp Kurashev on the right. He said Sept. 23 he hopes to play in Chicago’s regular-season opener at the Colorado Avalanche on Oct. 13.
“That’s my goal,” Toews said, “but I think I just have to keep being patient, and I think there are things you can learn as far as how I approach the game when you’re not firing on all cylinders, and the conditioning is not quite there yet. So I’m just chipping away at that and getting back into watching video and thinking the game. That’s my plan. I’d love to [play in the opener], but the focus is on tomorrow for now.”
Toews scored 60 points (18 goals, 42 assists) in 70 regular-season games and nine points (five goals, four assists) in nine Stanley Cup Playoff games in 2019-20.
The No. 3 pick in the 2006 NHL Draft, Toews has scored 815 points (345 goals, 470 assists) in 943 regular-season games and 119 points (45 goals, 74 assists) in 137 postseason games. He helped the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup in 2010, 2013 and 2015. In 2010, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy voted the most valuable player in the playoffs after scoring 29 points (seven goals, 22 assists) in 22 games.
Blackhawks forward Alex Nylander will also play for the first itme since Game 4 against the Golden Knights. He had surgery for a torn meniscus in his left knee Dec. 21.