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‘Canes play waiting game after Ruutu contract offer (Update)

Feb 22, 2012, 2:47 PM EDT

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Tuomo Ruutu Getty Images

The clock is ticking in Carolina.

That’s what ‘Canes GM Jim Rutherford told the Raleigh News and Observer, saying his offer to Tuomo Ruutu essentially expires today and that he’s waiting to hear if the 27-year-old forward will accept.

“We’ve worked very hard on this,” Rutherford said. “We’ve gone through the process to the end. We’ve gone as far as we can go and we are hopeful he’ll be staying.”

Rutherford said he expects an answer soon from Ruutu, who has been sidelined with an upper-body injury. The impending UFA hasn’t played since Feb. 13 but is expected to return within the next two weeks, meaning that — if he doesn’t agree to terms with the Hurricanes — he could be shopped in advance of Monday’s trade deadline.

Update (2:47 p.m. ET):

Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News & Observer reports that Ruutu is expected to re-sign today.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweets that it’s expected to be a four-year deal with a “slight bump” on Ruutu’s current cap hit of $3.8 million.

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