'I think Jordin has worked really hard both on and off the ice.'

Tootoo signs big contract extension with Preds


Jordin Tootoo, the first Inuk to play in the National Hockey League, has turned a career-best season into a two-year, $1.95 million contract extension with the Nashville Predators.

"Since we drafted Jordin in 2001, we have seen him blossom into a complete player, as evidenced by his gradual increase in production since breaking into the NHL," general manager David Poile said in a news release.

"Jordin is a physical player (who) can not only get under opponents' skin and draw penalties, but has proven he can score at this level as well. We are excited about watching his continued development over the next two seasons."

Just halfway through the season, Tootoo has already set new career highs with seven goals and 13 points, the team said Jan. 31.

"Six months ago I was just worried about being in the lineup," Tootoo said in a video on the Predators' website.

"The easiest part is getting drafted, the hardest part is staying in the lineup every day."

The Rankin Inlet native has been on the injured list since hurting his groin during a game against the Los Angeles Kings Jan. 8. Before the injury, he'd been averaging 10 minutes of ice time per game.

"When we first drafted him, we looked at Jordin as more of an energy player, as a role player," Poile said. "But I think Jordin has worked really hard both on and off the ice."

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