The “Tuomo Ruutu Watch” is over today as the Finnish winger has re-signed with the Carolina Hurricanes. One of the most talked about players approaching the trade deadline has come off the market, much to the chagrin of several playoff bound teams. General Manager Jim Rutherford announced today that Ruutu has signed a four-year, $19 million deal ($4.75 million average per year). The contract includes a no-trade clause for the first three years and will pay him $4 million next year and $5 million for the 2013-14, 2014-15, and 2015-16 seasons. The 29-year old is currently in his 5th season with the Canes after being acquired from the Chicago Blackhawks during the 2007-08 season. Ruutu is currently out with an upper body injury and expected to return to the team within the next couple of weeks. Currently, he is fourth on the team in points (30), second in goals (17) and fourth in plus/minus (+4). The official press release from the team is below:
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Tuomo Ruutu on a four-year contract extension. The deal will pay Ruutu $4 million in 2012-13, and $5 million per season in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
“Players like Tuomo are extremely difficult to replace, and it is very important for our franchise to keep him here long term,” said Rutherford. “Along with the physical elements and skill level that he brings on the ice, Tuomo is a popular leader in our locker room. We are very happy that he has committed to what we are building here, and is excited about what the future holds for the Hurricanes.”
Ruutu, 29, ranks second among Hurricanes skaters in goals (17) and fourth in points (30) in 57 games this season. The Vantaa, Finland, native is second on the team in hits (106) and tied for fourth on the team in plus/minus (+3). Ruutu played in his 500th career NHL game on Dec. 31 at Tampa Bay, and had a six-game point streak from Dec. 15-27 (5 goals, 2 assists).
Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with the ninth overall selection of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Ruutu has totaled 128 goals, 167 assists (295 points) and 498 penalty minutes in 517 career NHL games with Chicago and Carolina. The Hurricanes acquired Ruutu from Chicago on Feb. 26, 2008, in exchange for Andrew Ladd, and he has earned 187 points (80g, 107a) in 289 games with Carolina. He established single-season career highs in goals (26) in 2008-09, and points (57) in 2010-11, and made his Stanley Cup playoff debut in 2009, helping the Hurricanes reach the Eastern Conference Final.
Ruutu has represented his native Finland in 10 major international tournaments, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when Finland won bronze. He was third among all skaters in goals at the 2011 IIHF World Championship, leading Finland to the gold medal.