Nunavut's hockey star could soon be moving to a new NHL team.
A person familiar with the move has confirmed to The Associated Press that the Detroit Red Wings have placed forward Jordin Tootoo on waivers with the intention to buy out the final year of his $5.7-million contract.
If they can't get a buyer, the 31-year-old Inuk hockey star could become a free agent.
At least one observer thinks Tootoo will be picked up by another team.
“This will give him a chance to shop his services to the other 29 teams and I think he will be able to land an opportunity somewhere,” says Ted Kulfan, who covers the Red Wings for the Detroit News. “He's such a gritty forward, he plays the game hard, he plays with passion. I wouldn't be surprised if he lands somewhere next season for sure.”
Tootoo signed with the Red Wings in 2012 after playing eight seasons with the Nashville Predators, but he spent most of last season with the Wings' minor team, the Grand Rapids Griffons.
Tootoo is set to make $2 million US next season. Should he clear waivers on Thursday, Tootoo would be in a position to become an unrestricted free agent once the Red Wings buy out the remainder of his contract for $1.33 million, spread over two years.
Should the Wings use the so-called compliance buyout, the amount won't count against their salary cap.
Kulfan says the Red Wings team has a lot of young players on the roster, and that's why Tootoo spent most of the last season in the minors with the Grand Rapid Griffons.
He says Tootoo is now 31 years old and nearing the end of his career, but he believes the feisty forward still has the ability to play at the level of the NHL.
"The way he plays the game, the way he plays so hard, I do expect him to get another NHL job.”