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Jordin Tootoo nearing return from LTIR stint

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But he’s likely off to the AHL.

NHL: Winter Classic-Practice Day Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Blackhawks winger Jordin Tootoo is nearing his return from an unspecified upper-body injury, coach Joel Quenneville told reporters after practice Monday. Tootoo has been on long-term injured reserve since the start of the season due to the ailment.

It’s just not really clear what will happen with Tootoo once he’s healthy enough to go off LTIR. The Blackhawks already have a full roster and don’t really need another gritty fourth-line forward with Lance Bouma and Tommy Wingels already on the roster.

Tootoo will most likely be assigned to the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL, which may not require waivers given he’s been off the active roster since clearing in early October. From Cap Friendly:

So barring the unlikely development that Chicago tries to make room in the NHL, which would be a puzzling decision, Tootoo’s post-LTIR destination is likely Rockford.

The Blackhawks re-signed Tootoo earlier this year on a one-year contract before an active offseason pushed him out of the mix. The team revealed at the end of training camp that he would be going on LTIR with an injury even though nobody publicly knew what was wrong.

We still don’t really know what went wrong, but with Tootoo nearing his return, the Blackhawks will have to figure out what to do. Hopefully that means just burying him in Rockford.