The Red Wings didn’t want it to come to this, but it has.
On Thursday, the club sent veteran winger Jordin Tootoo to AHL Grand Rapids, a week after placing him on waivers in the hope of him finding a place to play.
At the time of said waiving, Detroit GM Ken Holland said the club wouldn’t send Tootoo to the AHL, mostly because it didn’t have to — defenseman Jonathan Ericsson was on LTIR at the time, so the club wasn’t forced to free up a roster spot or salary cap space.
But since Ericsson comes off LTIR tomorrow, Detroit had no choice but to demote Tootoo today.
“The situation here is we have too many right wingers,” Detroit head coach Mike Babcock explained last week. “We’re not giving [Tootoo] a fair opportunity.
“He’s done nothing wrong, he’s played hard, he’s been a good teammate.”
The subject of trade rumors for months, Tootoo never found his niche in Detroit after signing a three-year, $5.7 million deal with the club on the opening day of free agency in 2012.
Compounding matters was a shoulder injury that kept him out of the lineup for all of the preseason and the early part of the regular season, as well as Detroit’s glut of forwards.
Detroit will recapture $925,000 in cap space by putting Tootoo in Grand Rapids. The Wings also waived veteran forward Patrick Eaves on Thursday.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.
It looks like the Boston Bruins will be without their captain again on Saturday night.
Head coach Claude Julien told members of the media that Zdeno Chara is considered doubtful for tonight’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Chara suffered an upper-body injury during the preseason and he’s already been forced to miss Boston’s season opening loss to the Jets.
Per CSN, Chara says he’s improving but he won’t return to the lineup until he’s as close to 100 percent as possible.
“Every area of the injury is improving,” said Chara. “Hopefully it’s not long before I’m free of any kind of discomfort. That’s what we’re doing right now…we’re being patient. For sure you don’t want to come back, and be half of what you are…and basically hurting yourself and the team. And you’re putting yourself in a position where you could be missing more time. At this time of the season, I think it’s important to be as close as you can be to 100 percent.”
Based on the number of defensive mistakes they committed on Thursday, the Bruins need Chara back as soon as possible: