Detroit Red Wings: Jordin Tootoo Is Healthy, Now What?

Tootoo Red Wings

Rick Osentoski – USA TODAY Sports

The Detroit Red Wings were able to start the 2013-14 season with an abundance of forwards around, thanks to putting Patrick Eaves and Darren Helm on long-term injured reserve. Jordin Tootoo and Jonas Gustavsson started the season on short-term IR, and now that Tootoo has been medically cleared to play the day of judgment is coming soon for some Red Wings players. The team put Cory Emmerton on waivers, and he cleared, but was able to stick around when Eaves wasn’t healthy enough to start the season. Since Emmerton has not yet played in 10 games and it has not been 30 days since he was waived, he could still be sent down to the AHL. That still doesn’t help a winger like Tootoo get into the lineup, and Tomas Tatar is still around waiting for his regular shot. Tatar has appeared in one of the three games so far, but will head back to the press box on Thursday in favor of veteran Mikael Samuelsson.

Tootoo does bring energy and grit to the lineup, but he has yet to flash any offensive potential during his time in Detroit. Salary cap issues may still force the team to trade Tootoo, or try and sneak him through waivers and down to the AHL. Before the season started, top prospect Gustav Nyquist was forced down to the Grand Rapids Griffins, mainly beacuse he was one of the few forwards on a two-way contract. Tootoo had been out of action since the preseason with a bruised shoulder, and when he does get the chance to get in the lineup he needs to show his value immediately. Once Eaves and Helm are healthy, the Red Wings will need to clear three forwards to have their roster at compliance.

Jonathan Katje is an NHL featured columnist for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter or add him to your circles on Google Plus.

Tootoo returns from IR to help the Red Wings as they try to improve upon last seasons shortcomings and for cheap Red Wings tickets, click here.

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