The question is now whether or not Jonathan Toews will request a trade before the NHL deadline.
It has been replaced by a more pressing new question: Will Toews play hockey again this season?
The Blackhawks captain — who hasn’t played or practiced with the team since Jan. 28, the final day of the All-Star break — said Sunday he had to officially step down from the team due to health issues.
The same condition that sidelined him for the entire 2020-21 season has been hampered by chronic COVID and Chronic Immune Response Syndrome symptoms.
“It was very challenging to play with these signs,” Toews said in a statement. “The last few weeks have gotten to the point where I had no choice but to step back and focus on getting healthy. I’m thankful for the patience and support of my teammates, coaching staff and the entire Blackhawks organization.”
Toews resumed skating when the Hawks were in Canada last week, but “after his body didn’t respond the way it was supposed to,” Hawks general manager Kyle Davidson said.
With any trade possibility now moot, the Hawks are hopeful Toews can return for some games before the April 13 season finale, which is the end of his contract. Although this is no guarantee.
“We’re going to work with him and support him in whatever he needs to do to make sure he’s feeling good and strong and where he’s back on the ice,” Davidson said. “We’ll take it day by day, but hopefully he can still play some games in this position.”
This story will be updated.