The Malik Report
by George Malik on 07/28/13 at 12:05 AM ET
You'll have to excuse my "blogger Spidey sense" for twtiching on this one. On a Saturday night in July, an "NHL source" happened to talk to three Red Wings beat writers about the possibility of the Wings sending Jordin Tootoo and his $1.9 million cap hit back to Nashville (which has a full compliment of forwards and about $4.6 million of Capgeek-estimated cap space left), and that same "source" told three beat writers that the Wings may or may not be interested in Maple Leafs defenseman and restricted free agent Cody Fransson (earned $1.2 million last season) as well.
This all seems a little too convenient, but here's what the "source" told MLive's Ansar Khan...
The Detroit Red Wings have had discussions with the Nashville Predators about sending forward Jordin Tootoo back to the organization that drafted and developed him, according to a source.
The Red Wings will have two extra forwards and will be slightly over the $64.3 million salary cap once they sign restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.
They have been trying to swing a trade for more than a month to alleviate their roster and cap crunch. Tootoo, with two years at $1.9 million per season remaining on his contract, appears to be their most viable trade candidate.
Nashville, a team that typically doesn't spend up to the cap, has $4.6 million in cap space, according to capgeek.com. But, the Predators have 14 forwards, after signing a trio of free agents (Matt Cullen, Viktor Stalberg and Eric Nystrom) and would likely need to move a player to make room for Tootoo.
The Red Wings would have difficulty trading Mikael Samuelsson or Todd Bertuzzi, each of whom has a no-trade clause. And they would probably prefer not to move center Cory Emmerton since they're not sure if Darren Helm (back issues) will be ready for the start of the season. Plus, trading Emmerton would not give them as much cap relief ($533,333).
The Macomb Daily's Chuck Pleiness...
According to a source, the Wings have had discussions with the Predators about sending forward Jordin Tootoo back to Nashville.
The Wings will have too many forwards and continue to climb over the salary cap once they sign restricted free agents Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson.
Tootoo, 30, has two years left on a deal at $1.9 million a season. Tootoo played eight seasons in Nashville appearing in 486 games. He registered 46 goals, 79 assists and 825 penalty minutes.
With needing to move a forward or two, the Wings would have difficulty trying to deal Todd Bertuzzi or Mikael Samuelsson because both have no-trade clauses in their deals.
Patrick Eaves is also a candidate to be dealt.
Center Cory Emmerton may need to be held onto if Darren Helm, who played just one game last season due to an injured back, is unable to start or play next season.
And Fox Sports Detroit's Art Regner, via RedWingsFeed:
An NHL source has confirmed to FoxSportsDetroit.com that the Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators have discussed sending Jordin Tootoo back to Music City.
Tootoo was drafted by Nashville in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft and spent the first eight years of his NHL career with the Predators. The Wings signed him as an unrestricted free agent to a three-year, $5.7 million contract on July 1, 2012.
Always a fan favorite, Tootoo is an abrasive player who's more than willing to drop the gloves. In 42 games with Detroit last season, the 5-foot-9, 199-pound winger had three goals, five assists and 78 penalty minutes.
Tootoo appeared in just one playoff game because the Wings didn’t want to risk him taking a bad penalty with so much on the line.
As for Franson?
One player who appears to be available and has always intrigued the Wings is Toronto defenseman Cody Franson. According to TSN’s Daren Dreger, the Leafs would like to keep Franson, 25, but don’t have the cash to sign him to a long-term deal. Instead, they want to trade him before he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
As much as the Wings would love to add the big (6-5, 213 pounds), offensive-minded defenseman, they would have to make a trade with Toronto, which seems unlikely since the Leafs and Red Wings both reside in the NHL’s Atlantic Division.
Just how interested is Detroit in Franson? An NHL source told me that the Wings and Leafs haven't had any formal contact about Franson, but added, “Detroit is always in the market to add a good young defenseman.”
The Wings have been interested in Franson since the Predators traded him to Toronto two summers ago, but I don't see him coming to Detroit unless the Wings can move more bodies...And Nyquist and Andersson HAVE to be the team's priorities right now.
They can also very, very easily sign Grand Rapids Griffins AHL-contracted defensemen Nathan Paetsch or Brennan Evans to a two-way deal once they clear a body off the 50-man roster (assuming that retaining Tom McCollum's services despite signing him to an AHL-only deal leaves the Wings at 50 as there is still some confusion in that area) instead.
As for Tootoo, as On the Forecheck's Dirk Hoag suggests, the "fit" for Tootoo with his former employer has been overstated:
This doesn't make the least bit of sense. The Predators are already overloaded with 3rd & 4th line forwards making $1.5 million or more (Tootoo's due $2 million for each of the next two seasons). While you could certainly say that last season's team missed the hard hitting that Tootoo brings to the game, that issue was supposedly addressed with the Matt Hendricks and Eric Nystrom signings.
So... no thanks. There's just no room for Tootoo in the Nashville lineup these days, and it's hard to see where he'd provide an upgrade over what they've already got in place. I enjoyed Tootoo's style of play as much as anyone, but this Predators team needs more talent at the top of the depth chart, not the bottom.
Could it happen? Sure. But does it make sense as anything more than particularly conveniently-timed triple-leakage of a story that sounds good on the last weekend of July? I'm not so sure, and that's making me twitchy.
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