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Blackhawks Bits: Nazar to undergo surgery, Vlasic assigned

Tuesday’s news is not good news.

NHL: JUL 12 Chicago Blackhawks Development Camp Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

This is not the way a rebuild is supposed to start.

According to a report from Scott Powers of The Athletic, Chicago Blackhawks’ 2022 No. 13 overall pick Frank Nazar will have surgery on a lower-body injury, an operation that will sideline Nazar for a substantial period of time — and possibly the whole season.

The details related to the injury remain murky, with “lower-body injury” as the only available descriptor. Nazar was at Blackhawks prospect camp over the summer and also skated with Team USA’s World Juniors team, so the injury could be a carryover from either of those situations. Nazar has not played for Michigan yet this season.

The recovery timeline is just as unclear, with Powers’ article stating that there “isn’t any guarantee [Nazar] will return this season,” according to interim coach Brandon Naurato. Michigan’s regular-season schedule lasts through February, followed by the Big Ten Tournament in the first half of March and then the national tournament in the back half of that month. The Frozen Four is scheduled for the first weekend in April.

It’s a significant blow to one of the highest touted prospects in the organization who may have the highest ceiling among any prospect currently in the Blackhawks’ organization.

In other prospect news, defenseman Alex Vlasic was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs on Tuesday.

Vlasic broke training camp with the team but had not played in any of the team’s first three games from the regular season. His demotion suggests that Jake McCabe may be nearing a return from his offseason cervical spine surgery.