CHICAGO – The captain of the Blackhawks is making his return to the ice before the end of the 2022-2023 season and the expiration of his contract.

After being out of the lineup for the last two months due to symptoms of long COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome, Jonathan Toews will play for the team this Saturday when they host the Devils at 7 p.m. at the United Center.

Head coach Luke Richardson confirmed the news to reporters after the team’s practice on Friday.

The captain took the ice for the team during morning skate on Tuesday, which was the first time he’d done so with the team since the Blackhawks’ game against the Oilers on January 28. Before that, he’d spent the previous two months getting back to health with a number of off-ice workouts.

It’s especially important for Toews to return since he is in the final year of his contract with the team he’s spent his entire career with in the NHL. With the team rebuilding, it’s unclear if the captain would take a new deal with the Blackhawks, sign with another team, or decide to retire.

Toews returns to the lineup with seven games remaining in the regular season, including three more contests at the United Center in what could be his final home games as a member of the Blackhawks.

In 46 games this season, Toews has 14 goals and 14 assists with an average ice time of 17:55 per contest. He’s played in 1,060 games for the team since the 2007-2008 season, missing only the 2021 campaign, scoring 371 goals and 509 assists.

During his career, Toews has been the captain of Stanley Cup champion teams in 2010, 2013, and 2015.