Free agent forward Jordin Tootoo got his second chance in the pros just two summers ago, when then-New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello brought him onto the Metropolitan Division team on a pro tryout contract after a year spent predominantly in the AHL.
Now, he’s headed for the Central Division after getting his career back on track.
The NHL confirmed on Tuesday that Tootoo, who has amassed 63 goals and 158 points over 673 career games in the league, has inked a deal with the Chicago Blackhawks for the 2016-17 season. He’ll join the 2015 Stanley Cup champions off of two years with the Devils, where he bounced back from a demotion to the minors while with the Detroit Red Wings organization.
Drafted 98th overall by the Nashville Predators in 2001, Tootoo – one of the NHL’s few First Nations players to hit the league and stick – played the majority of his career in Nashville before moving to Detroit during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season. Despite standing at just 5 foot 9, he’s managed to cement a role for himself as a tough guy and a depth forward, putting up reasonable middle six numbers during his time in the league over the last decade and a half.
The Blackhawks don’t have a ton of money to spare, so adding Tootoo gives them some depth without breaking the bank.