TORONTO – It was another loss for the Blackhawks on Wednesday night and another contest in which the team’s captain was not on the ice.

The latter is more concerning for the team for a number of reasons as the second half of the season continues.

Jonathan Toews hasn’t played since January 28, the game before the NHL All-Star Break, as he continues to deal with a non-COVID illness. He’s missed five games as he’s been off the ice with the ailment and has been placed on injured reserve retroactive to February 7.

Per Scott Powers of The Athletic, Toews is not expected to join the team when they face the Senators Friday in Ottawa.

It’s difficult for the team to play without their captain, who has 14 goals and 14 assists in 46 games this season. But another reason the situation is tricky for the Blackhawks is the fact that Toews could be someone the team deals at the deadline in hopes of getting prospects or draft picks.

With the Blackhawks in full rebuilding mode and the captain entering the final year of his contract, the team is expected to shop Toews to contending teams before the March 3 deadline. It’s important to note that the center still has a no-trade clause and would have to approve any trade.

But the illness could be something that could affect a team’s interest should they want to acquire the services of the three-time Stanley Cup champion.

His Teammate Patrick Kane, who debuted with Toews in 2007 and together have been the faces of the team for the past 16 years, is also entering the final year of his contract and has been the subject of trade talks.

Kane also has a no-trade clause in his contract.