Tuomo Ruutu missed the beginning of the season dealing with an offseason hip surgery and when he got back into the lineup, he wasn’t his usual self.
Ruutu was getting knocked off the puck, wasn’t getting to the dirty areas and couldn’t collect the goals the Carolina Hurricanes desperately needed from him.
In the Finland native’s first 15 games, Ruutu was goalless and recorded only two assists. Other players like Patrick Dwyer and Drayson Bowman were outperforming him and it led to trade rumors that are still continuing.
But in the past four games and especially in yesterday’s contest, Ruutu has looked like his usual self. He’s scored two goals in those four games and shot six times yesterday, doubling his season high.
And a reason why Ruutu has looked much better is because he’s doing the things he usually does, like getting to the front of the net and the corners.
Yesterday, the hard work paid off when he scored his second of the season. Eric Staal may have made the pass to create the play, but Ruutu scored a goalscorer’s goal by faking the goalie before deking left.
It’s plays like that that the Hurricanes expect from the 30-year-old.
As for Ruutu’s slow start, it could be a number of things. He was probably not at 100 percent after his second hip surgery in one year and was playing with new linemates, rather than Jordan Staal and Dwyer, who he played with last season.
Regarding the trade rumors that are following Ruutu, GM Jim Rutherford may still be trying to move the former Blackhawk. He still has a big cap hit at $4.75 million and the team could use a puck-moving defenseman.
On the other hand, Ruutu is finally making an impact on the team, which is more than can be said of Jiri Tlusty.
If Ruutu wants to continue playing this way and stay with the Hurricanes, he needs to play with the grittiness that everyone expects from him, which he has been showing lately.