Detroit Red Wings: What Jordin Tootoo Brings to Team Other Than Fighting
But, oh, how much more there is to Tootoo's game than just grit.
Tootoo, not afraid to take on anyone in a fight, has already dropped the mitts four times in 16 games this season.
However, Tootoo hasn't fought in seven games. Instead, he's been focusing on improving other areas of his game.
Here are four things other than fighting that Jordin Tootoo has brought to the Red Wings lineup this season.
1. Shots on Goal
Tootoo's 18 shots on goal don't seem like a lot through 16 games with the Red Wings, but for his average ice time of about nine minutes per game, Tootoo's number of shots this season (including five shots on goal in 11:38 of ice time last game against Nashville) is quite impressive.
As far as "bottom-six" forwards are concerned, Tootoo trails Drew Miller, Justin Abdelkader and Cory Emmerton in shots on goal, but his performance against Nashville shows that he must be accounted for offensively by the opposition.
When the Red Wings signed Tootoo last year, there was one thing that they could almost guarantee he would bring to their lineup.
Lots of hitting to be exact.
With 33 hits in 16 games, Tootoo trails just Justin Abdelkader for the team lead in hits.
One might venture to guess that if Tootoo played as much as Abdelkader (almost 13 minutes a game), he would have an additional 15 hits to his current total.
At any rate, Tootoo is not afraid to lay the body and do so with considerable force.
At 5'9" and 199 pounds, Tootoo is not the heaviest player on the Red Wings or in the NHL, but he still impacts the game greatly through his hits.
Jordin Tootoo doesn't score the prettiest goals in the world, but he finds a way to make a difference on the scoresheet.
With a delayed penalty in the third period, the Red Wings got the extra man on the ice and capitalized.
Jordin Tootoo took a pass from Henrik Zetterberg and was attempting to give the puck back to Z when he hit the defenseman in front of the net with the puck.
Pekka Rinne was out at the top of the crease and helpless to stop the puck that ricocheted off the defenseman's leg and into the goal.
Tootoo won't score many goals this season, but like last night, the goals that Tootoo does score will be timely ones for a Red Wings offense that—top line aside—has struggled to produce.
4. Defensive Responsibility/Board Play
Tootoo is a plus-two on the young season.
His takeaway-to-giveaway ratio is 2:1, he has four blocked shots and 33 hits.
Again, not bad for a guy who averages less than nine minutes of playing time per game.
Tootoo is a dependable player because he can play in a lot of different situations.
He doesn't play the penalty kill and he certainly doesn't play the power play much, but Tootoo is very good where it counts: in his own zone.
Tootoo doesn't give up on plays and relishes the opportunity to bring the play to the corners, where he shoves players against the boards.
As an undervalued member of the Red Wings, Tootoo was initially appreciated by fans because of his willingness to fight.
But if Tootoo keeps up these four recent qualities for the rest of the season, he could prove to be an invaluable member of the team as the playoffs approach.
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