The Carolina Hurricanes have a potentially good problem on their hands in the coming weeks – a returning player from injury that has to be fit into a lineup that is currently playing strong hockey.
Tuomo Ruutu has been on the road of recovery for a couple of weeks now and began skating a few days ago. He may not play tomorrow against the Phoenix Coyotes, but Ruutu should rejoin the lineup sometime next week.
Dwyer could then move down to the third line, replacing Radek Dvorak, who would fall to the fourth line. Dvorak has looked strong this season, but it shouldn’t be expected of him to play this well all year.
Right now, it’s possible that Elias Lindholm could miss some time with an injury he suffered in last night’s game, so it’s possible nobody will come out of the lineup.
But if Lindholm is fine, Kirk Muller will have to sit another player.
I would expect Sutter to be the player taken out of the lineup. Bowman can move up and down the lines, as shown in the game against the Penguins, while Sutter is strictly a fourth-line/penalty killer.
That’s not to say Sutter has been playing bad, he’s looked fine in all areas of the game, but Ruutu could contribute more to the team.
This problem may be a good one to have, but it’s a tough decision to make and Muller will have to make that choice in the coming days.