Loktionov is only 23-years-old, has 12 points in 48 games this year and is signed to a $725k contract that expires at the end of this season. He will be a restricted free agent.
Ruutu leaves the Canes in the midst of his worst seasons as a Hurricane and while his production hasn’t been stellar this season, he is a long-time Cane that has plenty of history in Raleigh. Replacing his grit on the offense will be difficult.
However, losing the salary (no reports have stated the Canes have retained any) is great news for the team. This will open nearly $5 million in the offseason for the Hurricanes to try and get things figured out for next season.
UPDATE: The Hurricanes will retain $950,000 of Ruutu’s cap hit. However, that still saves the team about $3.5 million in cap space.
Loktionov was drafted in the fifth round in 2008 by the Los Angeles Kings and had a good amount of potential, but hasn’t lived up to it with 38 points in 135 games. He is known most for his speed and stick-handling skills and according to GM Jim Rutherford will be used on the powerplay.
It’s likely the Russian slots in at third-line center, taking over Riley Nash‘s spot. Loktionov’s defense isn’t spectacular, but his offense will be welcomed.