Tootoo placed on waivers; next step to Wings using final compliance buyout

DETROIT >> The Detroit Red Wings took a step Wednesday afternoon that’ll lead up to the use of their final compliance buyout.

Jordin Tootoo, who has one left on a deal worth $1.9 million, was placed on unconditional waivers and had until noon Thursday to clear.

After he clears, which is very likely, the Wings will use their final compliance buyout that’ll make the 31-year-old forward an unrestricted free agent.

The move doesn’t come as a shock since Detroit general manager Ken Holland hinted this would happen during the team’s locker cleanout at the end of the season.

“Toots doesn’t want to be in the American (Hockey) League,” Holland said. “We don’t want him to be in the American Hockey League.”

When he’s bought out Detroit will owe him two-thirds ($1.33 million) of his remaining deal spread out over the next two seasons.

His contract will no longer count against the salary cap.

“I think at the end of the day, there was a little bit of interest in Toots prior to the trade deadline,” Holland said. “Toots has done everything we could have asked of him in the AHL. He hasn’t complained. He’s been a good foot solider.”

Holland said two weeks ago they would try and trade Tootoo at the entry draft, June 27-28 in Philadelphia, but calls for his services must have not come.

“I’ve been through a lot of shit over the years,” Tootoo said at training camp last season. “This is what makes you a stronger person, both on and off the ice. It’s about mentally being strong and having the will and courage to overcome hard times.”

Tootoo was a salary-cap and roster size casualty this season, along with Patrick Eaves and Cory Emmerton. He was assigned to Grand Rapids on Nov. 14.

He was recalled in March and played one more game in Detroit.

With the Griffins he has six goals, 12 assists and 104 penalty minutes in 51 games. He has appeared in one of their first round playoff games this season.

In two seasons with Detroit, Tootoo, who inked a three-year deal worth $5.7 million on July 1, 2012, has played in 53 games with three goals and six assists and 83 penalty minutes.

His name was bantered about last offseason as possibly heading back to Nashville in a trade that would help Detroit free up cap space and trim its roster down.

The Wings used the first of two cap compliance buyouts last season when they shed the contract of Carlo Colaiacovo, who had one year left on a $2.5 million a season deal.

Tootoo, who spent his first eight seasons in the league with the Predators, was brought in to provide a physical and abrasive element to the fourth line.

Tootoo played in just one of the Wings’ 14 playoff games two seasons ago. He was also a healthy scratch in six of the final 23 games in the regular season a year ago.

In his only appearance in the playoffs he recorded the Wings’ first penalty of the series for a crosscheck that Anaheim promptly scored on just four seconds into the man advantage.

Despite it being a lockout-shortened 48-game regular season his first year in Detroit, Tootoo registered his highest total of fighting majors, eight, since totaling 10 in the 2008-09 season with Nashville.

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