Ruutu agrees to 4-year deal with Canes
Posted February 22, 2012
Updated February 23, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Just three weeks after Carolina Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said that signing veteran center Tuomo Ruutu was a priority for the team, the deal is done.
Ruutu, who just turned 29-years-old last week, agreed to the terms of a four-year deal Wednesday that will pay him an annual average of $4.75 million.
“Players like Tuomo are extremely difficult to replace, and it is very important for our franchise to keep him here long term,” said Rutherford. “Along with the physical elements and skill level that he brings on the ice, Tuomo is a popular leader in our locker room. We are very happy that he has committed to what we are building here, and is excited about what the future holds for the Hurricanes.”
The new contract will make Ruutu the third highest player on the team behind captain Eric Staal and goaltender Cam Ward. It also includes a no-trade clause for the first three years of the deal.
Ruutu, who is currently sidelined with an upper-body injury suffered in Montreal a week ago, is second on the team this season with 17 goals and fourth on the team with 30 points. He is also one of just eight players on the roster with a positive plus-minus rating (plus-3).
A first-round draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks in 2001, Ruutu was acquired by Carolina late in the 2007-08 season for Andrew Ladd. He has scored 80 of his 128 career NHL goals with the Canes and played in all 82 regular-season games a season ago.
Ruutu joins defenseman Tim Gleason as Carolina veterans that will avoid free agency with mid-season deals. Gleason also agreed to a four-year deal with the team on Jan. 30. The 29-year-old Gleason is in his eighth NHL season and sixth with the Hurricanes.
Carolina now has 17 players already under contract for next season and are a projected $22 million under the cap for draft picks and free agent signings. Notable unrestricted free agents for the Canes at the end of the year include defenseman Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen.
The Hurricanes host the Anaheim Ducks Thursday night at the RBC Center starting at 7 p.m. The cane can be heard on 99.9 The Fan ESPN Radio immediate following Stormfront hosted by Mike Maniscalco beginning at 6:30 p.m.