Skip to content

It’s official: ‘Canes sign Ruutu to four-year, $19 million deal

Feb 22, 2012, 4:12 PM EDT


Earlier, it was reported that Carolina GM Jim Rutherford had made an offer to impending UFA Tuomo Ruutu — an offer that expired today.

Now, it’s being reported that Ruutu put pen to paper before the clock struck midnight.

The 27-year-old Finn has reportedly agreed to a four-year, $19 million extension that will make him the team’s third highest-paid player next season — less than Eric Staal and Cam Ward, but more than Joni Pitkanen and Tim Gleason.

“We’re thankful Tuomo is staying with us. He’s an important building block for us in moving forward,” Rutherford said. “He’s an important player to our team. He’s the type of player that, long term, would be hard to replace.”

The most immediate ramification of the deal is it takes Ruutu off the market prior to Monday’s trade deadline. He was one of the more coveted players thought to be available and it should raise the value of other forwards being dealt.

Long term, well…it kind of skews the pay scale, doesn’t it? Ruutu’s an intriguing player because of his ability to score and play a physical game, but facts are facts — a guy that hasn’t topped 20 goals in any of his last three seasons is now making $4.75 million per.

More, from Luke DeCock of the News and Observer:

A $4.75 million forward on a cap team has to deliver more than intangibles. He has to deliver goals: At least 25 a year. Preferably 30-plus, although in Ruutu’s case he can compensate with other areas of his game. There’s no doubt about that.

That’s not asking too much of Ruutu. He’s capable. At one point, he was considered the best player in the world outside of the NHL. He would have been drafted much higher than ninth overall if not for a draft-year knee injury. He’s done it before, and if he stays healthy, there’s no reason he can’t do it again.

His new salary is a big number. The Hurricanes need big numbers from Ruutu in return.

Should be noted that, according to Sportsnet’s John Shannon, Ruutu had originally asked for a six-year deal, which Rutherford was loath to offer. As such, the ‘Canes GM gave Ruutu more money to compensate for shorter term.

  1. mydadyourmom - Feb 22, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    Ugly contract.

    • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 22, 2012 at 5:59 PM

      Agreed. I think it would have made more sense to trade him seeing as he is / would have been the likely biggest name on the block.

      I say that because I believe there is no chance that Selanne or especially Nash go anywhere. Nash will get moved by the draft

      • lonespeed - Feb 22, 2012 at 7:19 PM

        I see your point, but I disagree. The Canes certainly could have gotten a lot of value on the trade market, but it would have been in draft picks, and they already have a very good selection of young talent.

        It’s hard to replace a player in his prime with little to no downside. They have a good core nucleus to work with going forward, even though it didn’t work out well this year. Their team is young and they play hard, and they have a solid captain (Eric Staal), they have a solid goal-tender (Cam Ward), they have a dynamic superstar in the making (Jeff Skinner), they have some solid supporting players in Ruutu, Brenden Sutter, Tim Gleason and Jossi Jokinen. Add in a mix of young talent that includes Jiri Tlusty and Justin Faulk, and the future is bright. Every one of those players mentioned is under 30-years-old, and most are under 25-years-old.

        Is it the Detroit Redwings? No. But its a roadmap for the next 2-3 years and it shows there is a plan. Even though the Canes are at the bottom of the standings, they are much improved from earlier in the year and their road map is much better than say a Columbus Blue Jacket organization.

      • gbiscottagecheesefatties - Feb 22, 2012 at 7:50 PM


        I really can’t disagree with anything you said at all… but I will still say the smarter move long term would have been to move him.

        I think Ruutu is a very good player, but can be replaced easier “point wise” than it may seem… and seeing as he is now a $5 mill per season kinda guy, I would have done something different. Looking at what Brodziak just signed for in Minnesota, I wouldn’t have put Ruutu THAT much $$$ worth over Brodz… I think Ruutu has peaked and Brodziak will climb in the points as his career goes forward. That said, Ruutu is a guy I would rather have over Brodz but not at that price. Different players / positions / situations, just going off the most recent deals…. Not sure if that all makes sense….

      • lonespeed - Feb 23, 2012 at 9:26 AM

        That’s fair. The Canes were probably in a win-win situation, and maybe moving him would have been the bigger win.

        It sounds like Ruutu brings more than just points to the team. He’s a well rounded player that helps in every aspect of the game and from what I understand he’s a really good locker room guy. The latter shouldn’t be under appreciated. With so many players in the NHL from a mixture of nationalities, its difficult to get good team chemistry. Case in point, the Washington Capitals. The Caps are more talented than Carolina, but their team chemistry is a disaster and I would argue the Canes future is a lot brighter than the Caps, even with the Caps still being in the playoff race.

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. P. Kane (1740)
  2. P. Kessel (1503)
  3. M. Richards (1272)
  4. P. Datsyuk (1091)
  5. N. Backstrom (1077)