The Chicago Blackhawks have signed Jordin Tootoo to a one-year contract worth $750,000. More-so than other teams, the Blackhawks are a team that desperately needs NHL-caliber players on contracts such as this one to fill out their roster. Complimentary pieces are always important, but with some of the large contracts that Chicago already has signed, including the NHL’s two largest cap hits being paid to Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, the addition of Tootoo is a smart value move by the Blackhawks to say the least.
— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) July 5, 2016
The 33-year-old forward played the last two seasons in New Jersey with the Devils after playing his first 10 seasons in the Western Conference with the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings. Tootoo won’t light up the score-sheet, compiling four goals and five assists for nine points in 66 games last season, but he will eat up quality ice time when needed. Veteran leadership is an under-appreciated asset in the NHL, and Tootoo will help acclimate some of the younger players in line for an NHL call-up next season.
The Western Conference is played with more snarl and ferocity than the Eastern Conference, which should be right in Tootoo’s comfort zone. Last season, the Inuk forward led the Devils with 102 penalty minutes; a testament to his style of play and willingness to make an impact. With a return to the Western Conference, Tootoo’s brash style will be utilized more effectively.
Tootoo is aware of the opportunity he’s getting with the Blackhawks as well. “They’re contenders every year for the (Stanley) Cup. Every player’s dream is to win the Cup.” Tootoo said to CBC’s Robert Kabvitok. For Chicago, each season is Stanley-Cup-or-Bust. For Tootoo, each season is about surviving and getting the chance to play next year.