DETROIT – Jordin Tootoo just wants a chance to be in an NHL lineup each and every night.
And if that’s going to happen it looks like it’ll have to be in another city.
Tootoo, 30, was not claimed off waivers Thursday, but will remain with the Wings for the time being.
“I had an idea something was going to happen,” said Tootoo, who began the year on injured reserve with a bruised shoulder. “Obviously it comes down to numbers and cap space. I just want to thank the organization for giving me the opportunity to play and hopefully one day I can come back and be a Red Wing again. As of right now I don’t know what’s going on.
“It’s not rocket science,” Tootoo continued. “Unfortunately, I’m the one they decided to put on waivers or move. It is what it is.”
If he gets sent to Grand Rapids it’ll free up $925,000 in cap space.
“I just want to have an opportunity to be in the lineup every night, being a pro every day, coming to work, being an every-dayer is part of my repertoire,” Tootoo said. “It is what it is and whatever happens is meant to be.”
The rugged right winger can remain on the roster with Jonathan Ericsson (shoulder) on long-term injured reserve until Nov. 15. Once he’s activated and no other long-term injuries occur a decision will need to be made on where he’ll end up.
“Obviously they brought me in to be a physical presence,” Tootoo said. “When you’re given an opportunity to be in the lineup, my goal is to bring emotion and energy. Obviously, it’s not going to happen every shift and when you play a limited amount of ice time it’s hard to make things happen, but at the same time you’ve got to be a pro about it and make sure you do your best when you’re called upon to do your job.”
Tootoo, who has played in eight games this season and has yet to record a point, has one more year left on a three-year deal that pays him $1.9 million a season.
“I’ve been around long enough to understand what being a pro is and obviously I’ve been through this path before,” said Tootoo, who’s a minus-4 this season. “It’s not my first rodeo. I know what it takes mentally. You got to wake up with a clear mind and make sure you’re ready when you’re called upon.”
A similar situation occurred earlier this season when Cory Emmerton cleared waivers and remained with the team for the season opener, recording an assist. He then was sent to Grand Rapids where he remains.
Tootoo skated during an optional skate Thursday.
“I think as professional athletes you never know what’s going to happen,” Tootoo said. “You’ve just got to show up and do your job. Part of our job is being moved around. I don’t think about it, I just come to work and get the job done.
“These guys in the dressing room have been so great with me coming in, welcoming me with open arms, it’s like a brotherhood around here,” Tootoo added. “I’m definitely going to miss that, coming to the rink every day, because these guys are special and this organization as a whole has been a class act.”
Tootoo’s name was bantered about this offseason as possibly heading back to Nashville in a trade that would help Detroit free up cap space and trim its roster down.
Tootoo played in just one of the Wings’ 14 playoff games last season. He was also a healthy scratch in six of the final 23 games in the regular season a year ago, registering three goals, five assists and a team-high 78 penalties in 42 games in his first season in Detroit.
Despite it being a lockout-shortened 48-game regular season, Tootoo registered his highest total of fighting majors, eight, since totaling 10 in the 2008-09 season with Nashville.