If you can’t beat ’em, at least take some of their players. Red Wings general manager Ken Holland seems to be thinking this as the Detroit Red Wings signed forward Jordin Tootoo away from the Nashville Predators to a three-year contract. Tootoo will add some much needed toughness and grit to a Red Wings squad that was outmuscled, and outworked en route to their first round playoff exit at the hands of those same Predators.
Tootoo was drafteed by the Preds in 2001, and played eight seasons for Nashville at the highest level. Tootoo doesn’t score a ton of goals, but his biggest contrubitions don’t show up in the stat column. Tootoo is the guy fighting in the corners for loose pucks and adding extra pressure to the forecheck. These attributes were sorely missed by the Red Wings in the playoffs, especially after the injury to Darren Helm.
Obviously we’ve played against him,” Ken Holland said. “He’s hard, he’s physical, and we think he can help the bottom six by providing some energy and physicality along with Darren Helm. We’re trying to get some more edge with the bottom six and he’ll do that.”
Tootoo set a career high for goals scored in 2007, with 11, and last season produced a career high 24 assists for the Preds. Any combination of those two numbers and the Wings will be incredibly happy with this contract.
Tootoo certainly thinks he can contribute this season. “I think I bring a special element to the game that no other player does,” Tootoo said. “For me, my foundation is being a physical presence out there, but at the same time I know that I can contribute offensively. It’s all about opportunities, and for me I know it’s not going to be given. I have to work every day to become a better professional both on and off the ice, and at this point in my career I believe I’m in the prime and I’m ready to take on challenges that arise.”
Hopefully that will be the case.