Chicago Blackhawks: Jordin Tootoo’s Return Will Cause Problems

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: Jordin Tootoo
CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 13: Jordin Tootoo /

An already-crowded Chicago Blackhawks roster is set to get even more jumbled, as forward Jordin Tootoo is nearing return from an injury

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville announced Monday that Jordin Tootoo is close to returning to the Blackhawks. Unlike Quenneville, most Blackhawks fans do not feel the need for Tootoo.

Tootoo’s return is going to create a big mess for the ’Hawks. The first issue is the ’Hawks do not have any roster spots open. Second issue, Tootoo does not deserve a ’Hawks roster spot. The third issue is that the coaching staff appears to have finally figured out the forward lines.

So the question facing the Blackhawks is what to do with Tootoo. Well the problem is not so simple. There are several factors at play here.

Roster conundrum

Factor one, the ’Hawks currently have two players who have been healthy scratched for most of the season in Tanner Kero and Jordan Oesterle. Both Kero and Oesterle cannot seem to crack the ’Hawks’ lineup on consistent basis.

Kero has been replaced by Lance Bouma in the lineup, and Oesterle cannot crack the defensive pairings.  Both Kero and Oesterle cannot be sent down to Rockford because of their contracts.

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If the ’Hawks were to waive Kero or Oesterle, any team in the NHL will be able to claim them for nothing. I can guarantee that both players would be claimed by another franchise before they were sent to Rockford.

Factor two, Vinnie Hinostroza is languishing in Rockford. Hinostroza has proven this entire season that he does not belong in the AHL. However, the ’Hawks have yet to recall him. If anyone deserves a spot on the roster it is Hinostroza and not Tootoo.

What can Blackhawks do?

The Hawks have a few options when Tootoo returns.

  • Option 1: They have another player go on LTIR. This player would be someone off of the NHL roster.
  • Option 2: They waive Tootoo and someone claims him. Option 2 is more likely not to happen because Tootoo is a fourth-line guy at best.
  • Option 3: They waive Tootoo and send him to Rockford. I do not want this to happen because I feel there is not a spot for Tootoo to play at Rockford. Would you like Tootoo to take time away Matheson Iacopelli or Alexandre Fortin? The answer is no way.
  • That brings me to Option 4: The David Rundblad option, AKA Tootoo is waived and no one claims him. He then sits in no man’s land until someone gets hurt or they find a way to dump him.

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There currently is not timetable for Tootoo to return, so this could be sorted before then. It also could be decided the moment Tootoo comes off LTIR.