The Blackhawks have new lines again, as trade speculation heats up

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Marian Hossa will be back in the Blackhawks’ lineup tomorrow versus Buffalo. After sitting five games due to injury (and watching his team win just once), Hossa practiced today on a line with one familiar face, Jonathan Toews, and one new one, winger Spencer Abbott.

Abbott was recalled yesterday from AHL Rockford. The undrafted 28-year-old has eight goals in 30 games for the IceHogs. He only has one game of NHL experience, and just 5:16 of ice time, which he got with the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.

On the thought of playing with Hossa and Toews, Abbott told reporters today, “It’s a little bit nerve-racking.”

In a related story, there is speculation that GM Stan Bowman is in the market for a winger — including one trade rumor involving Colorado’s Jarome Iginla.

It’s only January, but Iginla is already being asked about it.

“The deadline is still a couple of months off, so lots of things can change, but that’s part of the game and part of sports, and it’s also good for an organization, teams at the deadline, whether they’re in or out, to try to get assets back,” said Iginla, per the Globe and Mail. “I know how that works.”

Of course, as noted by the Chicago Sun-Times’ Mark Lazerus, Iginla would be a tough add for the Blackhawks given their salary-cap situation.

How to improve his team, with limited cap space, is just the latest big challenge for Bowman. If the prolific line of Patrick Kane, Artem Anisimov and Artemi Panarin is to stay together, the ‘Hawks will need to find someone to play with Toews and Hossa. The captain has skated with a whole host of linemates this season, and he’s only managed six goals and 12 assists in 31 games, putting him on pace for what would be a career-low 42 points.

And even if the ‘Hawks can find that someone, internally or externally, there would still be questions about the bottom six. Tomorrow against the Sabres, a third line of Ryan Hartman, Tanner Kero and Richard Panik is expected, with a fourth line of Andrew Desjardins, Dennis Rasmussen, and Vinnie Hinostroza.

Read more: Blackhawks banking on improvement from rookies

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