Now signed to a four-year, $19 mil. contract, Tuomo Ruutu is expected to play a key role in the Hurricanes future by being a contributor in the team's top-six while providing a much-needed physical presence on top of that. It's hard to deny that Ruutu makes an impact whenever he is in the lineup but unfortunately, Ruutu spent most of this year watching the team from the press-box. Ruutu underwent hip surgery about a month before the start of the year and while he made his return ahead of schedule, he only played 17 games total this season. It was also revealed that Ruutu will have surgery on his other hip this off-season, so he wasn't at 100% even when he was in the lineup this year.
Ruutu has the entire off-season to recover, so he should be ready by the time training camp rolls around but his health is still a concern, mostly because his absence creates a huge void for the Hurricanes to fill. When he was on the shelf, the Canes had a big hole in their top-six and struggled to find a good fit for the right wing spot on the second line. They ended up over slotting third liners there for most of the year and predictably, none of them were a permanent solution or a replacement for what Ruutu brings. It took Ruutu a few games to get back to his full form but after that, he was one of the Canes better forwards in the latter stages of the season and I look forward to seeing what he can do in a full year.
With the news of his injury coinciding with the signing of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, there were some people who thought Ruutu would be a candidate for the Hurricanes to use the amnesty clause on, but those talks should have died down by now. When healthy, Ruutu is an impactful player that the Hurricanes are going to struggle to replace no matter what, so his spot on the team should be safe for the next year or so. Ruutu is overpaid and will probably see his production go down as he gets older, but he is still an important part of the Hurricanes and was very good when healthy this past season.no comments