I've been kind of indifferent on trading Jordin Tootoo. While he certainly has value and brings something important to the team, there's also a limited nature to what he brings. I've been trying to determining if Tootoo is worth the roster spot. Is what he brings to the team worth more than what someone else getting that spot can bring? If we had an unlimited roster, sure I'd keep him, but I don't want a valuable roster spot taken up by a guy who plays 9 minutes a game, doesn't get enough points to be worth mentioning, takes a lot of penalties (smart, stupid, and reputation), doesn't kill penalties, doesn't play on the power play, and isn't someone who's going to play in the playoffs.
I don't buy the line of thinking that says we're moving east, so we need more tough guys who will fight. Goals still win you games, and that should be a priority. I'd also like to have more value for his 1.9M cap hit. Tootoo has a higher salary and cap hit than Abdelkader, Miller, Eaves, Emmerton, and Tatar (though Tatar is still on his EL contract) and I'm guessing his cap hit will probably be higher than Nyquist and Andersson (when we re-sign them- the team has already made qualifying offers). For someone who makes more than those players, I expect him to contribute more to the team and earn his value. All of those players I listed who make less than Tootoo have more value to the team than he does. Emmerton, Eaves, and Miller are penalty killing machines, and Abdelkader is a more skilled, better all around player than Tootoo, and he made huge improvements this year that will benefit him going forward (regardless of which line he plays on). Tatar is already a more useful player than Tootoo and he needs a spot on the roster next year.
We can't afford to give a spot to someone who's only a tough guy; we need more bang for out buck/roster spot. We don't have a many guys on the roster who fight, but we do have guys who are tough and will stand up for themselves and their teammates. Given the limited number of people we can have on the roster, I'd rather have Ericsson, Andersson, Abdelkader, Quincey, Smith, and guys like that, who will step in when needed, but also bring more important assets to the team.
I get a little conflicted on this subject because I love watching hockey fights, but even more than that, I love feeling them. I cheer for them, I encourage them, I leap out of my seat (if I'm actually sitting while watching hockey) and throw punches into the air, my heart races and I'm ready to leap through my TV and join the action. Maybe it's the primitive part of my brain, or the violence inherent in the system, but I love the feelings, the emotions, the excitement, the intensity... I love everything about a great hockey fight. As Wings fans, we don't get to see many fights and I confess sometimes I crave more of them, however I just can't justify wanting to keep Tootoo largely for that purpose. The benefit of keeping Jordin Tootoo doesn't outweigh the costs.
Every player on a team is a role player. They each have an important role to play, and in order to be successful there needs to be balance in roles. We need scorers, grinders, penalty killers, effective power play guys, etc... Too many players fill one role, means not enough in another role. Is the role that Tootoo plays absolutely necessary to this team, and can his role be filled more effectively by someone else already on the roster or in Grand Rapids?
It's essentially a cost benefit analysis and, in my opinion, the costs come out higher than the benefit. In the near future (maybe even next year) the Wings could bring Mitch Callahan up for a handful of games and see how he does. He's got that tough guy element, but he has more skilled than Tootoo; in the sense that he scores goals, kills penalties, and has much more value than just a fighter. Sure he has a lot to learn since he's never played in the NHL before, but he has much more upside than Tootoo does, and I'd rather get Callahan some experience and start his transition to the NHL, than keep Tootoo on the roster just because he can fight.
Of course, there's also the question of whether or not there's a market for Tootoo. I think someone would take him off our hands, but wouldn't expect much in return. I'm terrible at determining value for a player so I'll let you speculate as to what "not much" would constitute. Is he worth using a buyout on? Nah, I don't think we need him off the roster enough to use a compliance buyout. I don't think the team "needs" to get rid of Tootoo, but I'm definitely leaning towards trading him for whatever we can get and utilizing the roster spot for someone else that brings more benefit to the team, and is a part of the Wings future plans.
What do you think? Are the benefits Tootoo brings to the team, worth the costs?