A lack of cap space forced the Chicago Blackhawks to part ways with a number of different players. Andrew Shaw, Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen were all traded away in an attempt to create some cap flexibility.
One of the players that’ll be counted on to replace those players is Jordin Tootoo. The 33-year-old signed a one-year deal with Chicago earlier this off-season and it sounds like two veterans on the team, Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook, pushed GM Stan Bowman to pursue him.
All three players live in Kelowna, British Columbia during the off-season and they go to the gym, play golf and go to the lake together. The ‘Hawks duo used that opportunity to get to know Tootoo and to sell him on the idea of going to Chicago.
“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,” Keith said, per The Chicago Sun-Times. You always have to be aware when he’s on the ice because he’s going to finish every hit. I think it was a great addition to have him [and add] some physicality. I know the fans in Chicago like seeing big hits at the United Center and I know he’s going to bring that intensity.”
As Keith alluded to in the above quote, Tootoo certainly plays a rugged style which makes him the likely answer to Shaw’s departure. Tootoo’s best days are behind him, but the fact that he comes with a $750,000 cap hit, as opposed to the $3.9 million cap hit Shaw got in Montreal makes him an appealing option.
“Every team needs a little spark plug,” Tootoo said. “I’ve been around the game a lot of years now, and I just want to add that little piece. And hopefully we can bring the Cup back here.”