Tuomu Ruutu was expected to miss the entire 2013 season, but made a surprising return to the Carolina Hurricane’s lineup in late March. In those nine games Ruutu has not scored a goal and has four assists. The Hurricanes need Ruutu and others to score if they want to salvage anything this season.
Ruutu required hip surgery in early January before the lockout was over. At the time GM Jim Rutherford announced that Ruutu had passed a post-season physical and did not know how the injury had happened. The Finnish-forward made a speedy recovery and was expected to take his spot back in the top-six when he returned.
After missing over 10 months of NHL action, it is unrealistic to expect Ruutu to come out and lead the Hurricanes in scoring, but it would be nice to see Ruutu contribute a little to the scoring front. The 30-year-old had a prime scoring chance in the game against the Washington Capitals on Thursday night after receiving a pass in the slot from Riley Nash, but shot the puck right into Braden Holtby‘s chest.
These are the type of chances that Ruutu should score on. He has scored around the 20-goal mark in the past four seasons and the Canes need him to contribute when goals are hard to come by.
Ruutu’s return from injury also played a part in Rutherford’s decision to trade Jussi Jokinen. Since Jokinen joined the Pittsburgh Penguins, the left-winger has scored three goals and two assists in three games.
Ruutu’s first goal this season could give the forward a lot of confidence and right now the whole offense is in a slump, but Ruutu can change that by bearing down and scoring his first goal.
LaRose should obviously not be too relied on for scoring, but the American-native should be able to give the Canes a presence on the forecheck and play a gritty game.
However, the right-winger did score 19 goals for the Hurricanes last season and only has two this year through 27 games. Some depth scoring could go far for the falling Hurricanes.
So far LaRose has not been able to create a presence for himself as he has done in previous seasons. With the team finding it difficult to score doing the little things that LaRose can provide should help the team make a turnaround.
Faulk has only played two games since returning from injury, but has contributed more than Ruutu and LaRose have. Faulk is responsible for the Hurricanes improved transition game that has led to more chances in the past two games.
The American-defenseman also played 22 minutes in both games and has been a strong defensive presence.
But Faulk only had one shot on goal in the game against the Capitals, while the Hurricanes shot 44 times in total. Carolina desperately needs the power-play to start clicking and Faulk should be able to help that by providing a wrist shot that can find the back of the net on the man-advantage.