The Chicago Blackhawks acquired Jordin Tootoo on Tuesday in a move that made little sense
A couple days ago, I came up with a post about low-cost forward the Chicago Blackhawks could acquire. After the addition of defenseman Brian Campbell via free agency, I felt — and still feel — the Blackhawks need at least one low-cost forward who could potentially be used on multiple lines.
Jordin Tootoo was not what I had in mind, but General Manager Stan Bowman signed him to a one-year, $750,000 deal Tuesday. While it leaves the Blackhawks with an estimated $2.415 million in salary cap space, which would be enough to make another signing or two, the deal with Tootoo doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
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Tootoo is a 33-year-old right wing who is better known for fighting than anything else. As Blackhawks fans are well aware, Brandon Mashinter already holds the role of “random guy who fights some” on the Blackhawks. But apparently Bowman felt the team needed two of these guys.
Tootoo’s average ice time is a shade over 10:32. He’s posted 18 or fewer points in 11 of his 12 seasons. He finished a minus-26 (!) last season while hitting more than 100 penalty minutes in 66 games. And he posted a whopping nine points in that span.
So, Tootoo is on the wrong side of his “prime,” isn’t accustomed to playing many shifts per game and doesn’t fill the net or help his teammates fill the net very often. So why did the Blackhawks sign him?
My guess would be coach Joel Quenneville got in Bowman’s ear and said the Blackhawks need a player similar to the recently-departed Andrew Shaw. It’s no secret Q loved Shaw, and he probably didn’t see any options around the Blackhawks’ current roster or in the minors.
It’s become readily apparently Quenneville has a role in the Blackhawks’ dealings. He at least gets a say in them, as so many of the team’s recent maneuvers have been moves Q would approve of. In some cases, that works out fine and for the team’s benefit. But Tootoo does nothing to help the 2016-17 Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks have made a mistake signing Tootoo, even for as little as they did. Their offense is currently a mishmash of pieces with one bonafide line. Bringing in someone who does far more fighting than producing offense does nothing to help that.
We should hope Tootoo winds up stored in Rockford, but there’s a good chance he’ll get a look at the main roster early in the season. The Blackhawks still need to sign at least one more forward who can actually aid the team, at least offensively. And they still need to give some of the youngsters a shot at roster spots moving forward. Hopefully Tootoo doesn’t block that.