NHL Rumors: Jonathan Toews' Concussion Will Force Blackhawks to Make a Trade

Nicholas Goss@@NicholasGoss35Correspondent IFebruary 23, 2012

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 16: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrates his penalty shot goal against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden on February 16, 2012 in New York City. The Blackhawks defeated the Rangers 4-1.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Chicago Blackhawks forward Jonathan Toews reportedly has a concussion, the second of his career, and as a result the team must make a trade before Monday's deadline to bolster their depth on offense.

Via Pro Hockey Talk:

“It’s upper body, we’ll leave it at that,” said coach Joel Quenneville, as reported by Adam Jahns of the Chicago Sun-Times.

However, a source tells ChicagoNow.com that Toews’ injury is indeed a concussion, and another source says it was suffered against the San Jose Sharks on Feb. 10.

The Blackhawks must be careful with Toews, who is believed to have played five games with this concussion. How that happened is pretty concerning because there is absolutely no way that a franchise player should be allowed to play even one game with a concussion, let alone five.

Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville addressed the impact of Toews missing games in a Chicago Tribune story from Thursday:

It's was something we talked about after the (Blues) game. When you don't have Johnny in your lineup it's a concern. (With) the minutes, the importance and the leadership. It's always important when your top players aren't there. We're hopeful he's going to be back quick.

There is no reason for a quick return. There are more important things than going deep into the playoffs this season. Chicago cannot afford to endanger Toews' career by rushing him back too soon.

Since this is the second concussion of his career, Chicago should sit him down for a while and ensure Toews is treated well and he doesn't have to battle symptoms for many months like Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby has.

Without Toews at 100 percent in the playoffs, the Blackhawks probably won't advance past the first round. Toews is one of the three best forwards in all of hockey and provides the Blackhawks with leadership and phenomenal two-way ability every game.

If Toews isn't going to be fully healthy for the playoffs, then general manager Stan Bowman needs to make a trade to give the team some more depth. Even if Toews is going to return before the playoffs, adding another veteran forward as insurance would be a wise move.

Veteran center Paul Gaustad of the Buffalo Sabres might be available, and he would add some more toughness and penalty-killing ability to the Blackhawks. Sabres center Derek Roy and Montreal Canadiens left winger Andrei Kostitsyn are two other options for Bowman to consider.

The Blackhawks would be smart to make a trade, but not a major one, if they want to make a deep playoff run this season if Toews' concussion status doesn't improve.


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