Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been pillars on the Chicago blueline throughout the team’s recent dynastic run. But, according to Mark Lazerus of the Chicago Sun Times, they’ve taken on a new role now, as recruiters. The duo had a hand in bringing gritty winger Jordin Tootoo to the team this summer.
All three players spend their summers in Kelowna, British Columbia, and the Chicago defensemen put it in Tootoo’s ear that he should look at joining the Blackhawks. “First and foremost he’s a good teammate,” Keith told Lazerus. “He’s a good guy to have in the locker room, and the energy that he brings — I know playing against him, I don’t like going back for pucks when he’s on the ice. You always have to be aware when he’s on the ice because he’s going to finish every hit.”
They also put it in general manager Stan Bowman’s ear that Tootoo could be an asset, particularly with the loss of Andrew Shaw this summer. Tootoo is expected to take on some of the sandpaper role vacated by Shaw.
“I can skate and I’ve been doing this a lot of years,” said Tootoo. “I know what my role is. At the same time, I can play the game. I think in this day and age, in order to stay in the league, you’ve got to adjust to whatever you can do. But my foundation is being physical and hard on pucks and doing all the dirty work.”
The Blackhawks signed Tootoo to a one-year contract carrying a value of $750,000 on free agency’s opening day. If he’s able to fulfill part of the role that Shaw played — likely with less ability to move up the roster when injury strikes — he comes a good deal cheaper than the $3.9 million Shaw fetched on an extension with Montreal.