Jordin Tootoo had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 51 games in Grand Rapids last season. He played 11 games with the Red Wings, with one assist, a minus-3 rating and five penalty minutes. (David Guralnick / Detroit News)
Detroit — Jordin Tootoo wanted a chance to get back into the NHL.
The Red Wings granted that wish.
The organization put Tootoo on waivers Wednesday with the intention of using their second and final salary cap compliance buyout on the veteran forward.
Tootoo, 31, will clear waivers Thursday. Afterward, Tootoo will become an unrestricted free agent, free to negotiate a deal with any team.
“Jordin wanted an opportunity to play in the NHL,” general manager Ken Holland said. “I believe he’s going to get that chance. He did whatever what was asked of him.
“He wants to play in the NHL, not in the American League.”
Tootoo was bumped off the Red Wings roster early last season and spent much of the schedule in Grand Rapids, the team’s minor league affiliate.
The steady stream of young skilled players from Grand Rapids, and the salary cap problems the Red Wings had at the beginning of the season conspired to send Tootoo to the minor leagues.
Tootoo signed a three-year contract worth $5.7 million July 1, 2012 and has one more season left on his contract, worth $1.9 million. Tootoo will receive two-thirds of the value of the remaining deal, roughly $1.25 million, spread over the next two seasons.
The buyout is essentially a win-win for both sides.
The Red Wings will not suffer any salary cap penalties and now spend that money on their roster.
Tootoo had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 51 games in Grand Rapids last season. He played 11 games with the Red Wings, with one assist, a minus-3 rating and five penalty minutes.
In his first season, during the lockout-shortened season, Tootoo played 42 of the 48 games with three goals, five assists and 78 penalty minutes. But he only played in one playoff game.
Under the provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement, each team was given two compliance buyouts before the start of the 2014-15 season.
The Red Wings used their other one on defenseman Carlo Colaiacovo last summer.
Goaltender Jonas Gustavsson is a prospective unrestricted free agent likely to re-sign with the Red Wings.
Forward Daniel Alfredsson, 41, could also return if a deal can be worked out — and he doesn’t retire.
But one other potential free agent who could return is forward Daniel Cleary.
Holland plans on talking with Cleary, 35, after the free agent period ends.
“Once the dust settles after July 1, I’ll sit down with Daniel Cleary and we’ll talk,” Holland said.
Cleary signed a one-year contract worth $1.75 million last season, turning down larger multi-year offers to remain with the Red Wings.
Cleary, 35, had four goals and four assists in 52 games last season, his season shortened by knee problems.
The Red Wings could offer Cleary a two-way contract, with the ability to send him down to Grand Rapids, if Cleary doesn’t receive a contract offer anywhere else around the league.
Holland confirmed forwards Todd Bertuzzi and Mikael Samuelsson, both unrestricted free agents, will not be offered contracts.