Tootoo back to Nashville?

BY foxsports • July 27, 2013

An NHL source has confirmed to 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.

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock praised Tootoo’s play at the end of last season, saying he provided a gritty physical presence that the Wings have lacked in previous years.

However, the Wings desperately need salary-cap relief, and with Tootoo’s hit of $1.9 million for each of the next two years,  he's one of the players the Wings are shopping around. Mikael Samuelsson, Todd Bertuzzi and Cory Emmerton are the others.

One player who appears to be available and has always intrigued the Wings is Toronto defenseman Cody Franson. According to TSN’s Darren 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.”