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.