Jordin Tootoo Has Exceeded Expectations In A Big Way


When it comes to sports, nothing seems to ever go the way you think it will. You think you know what should happen and what is going to happen, but that’s the beauty of sports – you’re not always right. Sometimes players don’t perform up to snuff… and sometimes they exceed your expectations. This is exactly the case with Jordin Tootoo. A month ago, after Tootoo was given a spot in the top six, I wrote how that was far too big of a role for him. I still firmly believe what I wrote, but you can’t argue with results. Jordin Tootoo has taken his chance and run with it.

Mar 14, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; New Jersey Devils right wing Jordin Tootoo (center) celebrates with center Travis Zajac (19), left wing Mike Cammalleri (23) and defenseman Damon Severson (28) after scoring a goal in the third period against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Since he was put with Travis Zajac and Mike Cammalleri on February 13th in Chicago, Jordin Tootoo has four goals and four assists in 15 games. He’s finding a way to put pucks in the net and set up his teammates. Last night he recorded a Gordie Howe  Hat Trick in the Devils’ 4-1 victory over Arizona. That shows that not only is he producing offense, he hasn’t abandoned his job as an enforcer. Even though his offense has been terrific, he’s still using his speed and strength to knock people on their butts and be a menace to the opposition.

As I said, I still feel like Tootoo would be better served as a fourth-line player or a bottom six forward at the very least, but there’s no denying that he has been one of the best Devils players this past month. He has truly developed some good chemistry with Cammalleri and Zajac making that line really click. Last night all three players had multi-point nights which was great to see. Jordin Tootoo’s work ethic and performance earned him a promotion in lines and he’s made the most of it. He definitely deserved the extra ice time and deserves a new contract for next season.

The question is, where should he play next year? Will he still be in the top six? Again, it’s nothing personal but Tootoo absolutely should not be in the top six. He should be in the lineup every single day, but in a role better suited for him. As a top six player, he’s below average; as a fourth-line player, he could be one of the best. If the Devils could have players like he and Steve Bernier – who has had an incredible season of his own – in the bottom six, that would provide some tremendous depth for the club.

In the NHL, depth is one of the most important things for a team to have. Think back to the Devils in 2012 during the playoffs. Their bottom six was comprised of Alexei Ponikarovsky, Adam Henrique, David Clarkson, Ryan Carter, Stephen Gionta and Bernier. Those two lines scored some huge goals and provided amazing depth en route to the Stanley Cup Finals. Next season with guys like Tootoo, Bernier, Gionta, Scott Gomez, Jacob Josefson and Patrik Elias in the bottom six would be terrific. The top six can be built up and the bottom six would be extremely deep.

Again, this is no slight on any of those players. They are all very important to the team – it’s just about finding the right roles for players to succeed and further an overall team success. As it pertains to Jordin Tootoo, he’s been incredible. His story is remarkable and I’m very happy for him. He’s a joy to watch every night and I hope he comes back next season to help us win a Cup.

Next: Jordin Tootoo's Gordie Howe Hat Trick

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