DETROIT – Jordin Tootoo will remain in Detroit … for now.
The veteran agitator cleared waivers Thursday afternoon, but he knows his time with the Red Wings is likely limited.
“I had an idea something was going to happen,” said Tootoo of being placed on waivers Wednesday. “Obviously it comes down to numbers and cap space. I just want to thank the organization for giving me the opportunity to play and hopefully one day I can come back and be a Red Wing again.”
Tootoo is the second Red Wings player to clear waivers this season. Center Cory Emmerton was placed on waivers prior to the start of the season. He collected an assist in four games with the Red Wings before he was sent to Grand Rapids in the American Hockey League.
It’s likely that Tootoo will be sent to Grand Rapids next week to clear a roster spot for the expected return of defenseman Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) when he comes off of long-term injured reserve. He is eligible to next Friday when the Red Wings host the Washington Capitals.
“At the end of the day I want to play hockey, wherever I end up, it’s going to give me an opportunity to be in the lineup,” said Tootoo, who has no points in eight games this season. “As a hockey player, we’re bred to compete and battle for each other. For me, it’s hard not being in the lineup because it’s just my nature. I want to go to war for my teammates. Wherever I end up I’m sure I’ll have the opportunity to play.”
Tootoo, who has collected more than 800 penalty minutes in 536 NHL games, understands well enough not to take Wednesday’s roster move personally.
“It’s not rocket science. Unfortunately I’m the one they decided to put on waivers or move,” he said. “I’ve been around long enough to understand what being a pro is and obviously I’ve been through this path before. It’s not my first rodeo. I know what it takes mentally. You got to wake up with a clear mind and make sure you’re ready when you’re called upon.”
If, or when, Tootoo is reassigned to Grand Rapids, the Red Wings would receive $925,000 in cap space relief.
Tootoo participated in the Red Wings’ optional skate Thursday morning at Joe Louis Arena. And while he won’t be in tonight’s lineup against the Dallas Stars, Tootoo wants to be ready for the next chapter in his life.
“As professional athletes you never know what’s going to happen,” said Tootoo, who registered eight points and nine fighting majors in 50 games with the Red Wings. “You just got to show up and do your job. Part of our job is being moved around. I don’t think about it, I just come to work and get the job done.”
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