Tracking the Storm

Ruutu, Canes Happy with Longer Deal

Thursday, 07.23.2009 / 12:52 PM ET / Tracking the Storm
By Paul Branecky
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Ruutu, Canes Happy with Longer Deal
There was a lot of back-and-forth between the Hurricanes and Tuomo Ruutu over the length of a potential new contract, but in the end, both sides appear to have gotten what they wanted.

Paul Branecky
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Ruutu agreed to a three-year deal with Carolina on Thursday morning, ending a process that started about a month ago and was scheduled to end at an arbitration hearing on July 30 at the latest. As per arbitration rules, Ruutu would have received no more than a one-year contract from that hearing.

“My preference was to stay longer than one year,” said Ruutu on a phone call from his native Finland. “After the season I really liked being in Carolina so much, and if it’s just one year you don’t know what’s going to happen when the trade deadline comes up, so I preferred the three-year deal.”

That was also the preference of the Hurricanes, as General Manager Jim Rutherford was hopeful all along that the team could secure the player’s services for a longer term after a season in which he set career highs in every offensive category and trailed only Eric Staal in team goal-scoring

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Both sides were also hopeful that the manner would be concluded before the upcoming arbitration hearing, one way or another. Despite admittedly letting his agent handle the majority of the contract talks, Ruutu made his opinion clear in that regard.

“To be honest, I told my agent that I didn’t want to go to arbitration,” he said. “I wanted to get this done, and I’ve heard it’s never nice to go to arbitration. I wanted to stay for a longer period of time.”

Although he kept in touch with countrymen and fellow Hurricanes Jussi Jokinen and Joni Pitkanen throughout the summer, Ruutu said that their presence wasn’t the main reason for his desire to settle in Carolina for the next few seasons.

“During the process we joked about it and stuff like that, but in the end it wasn’t the case,” he said. “It’s obviously nice to have them, but the main reason was that I really enjoyed being there. I like the city, I like the fans and I like playing in that organization. I don’t think that the grass is greener anywhere else.”

Ruutu said he’s hoping to make the seven-hour drive north to see Jokinen and Pitkanen before the summer is over, but if nothing else he’ll see them at Finland’s Olympic camp in August. All three players have been invited to the meetings, which are not expected to include on-ice sessions as per the NHL Players’ Associations recent concerns about adequate insurance.

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STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 p - NYR 82 53 22 7 252 192 113
2 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 221 189 110
3 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 262 211 108
4 x - WSH 82 45 26 11 242 203 101
5 x - NYI 82 47 28 7 252 230 101
6 x - DET 82 43 25 14 235 221 100
7 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 238 215 99
8 x - PIT 82 43 27 12 221 210 98
9 BOS 82 41 27 14 213 211 96
10 FLA 82 38 29 15 206 223 91
11 CBJ 82 42 35 5 236 250 89
12 PHI 82 33 31 18 215 234 84
13 NJD 82 32 36 14 181 216 78
14 CAR 82 30 41 11 188 226 71
15 TOR 82 30 44 8 211 262 68
16 BUF 82 23 51 8 161 274 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 77 23 31 -13 54
J. Faulk 82 15 34 -19 49
E. Lindholm 81 17 22 -23 39
V. Rask 80 11 22 -14 33
J. Skinner 77 18 13 -24 31
N. Gerbe 78 10 18 -14 28
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. Staal 46 6 18 -6 24
J. Liles 57 2 20 -9 22
J. McClement 82 7 14 -7 21
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 22 24 5 .910 2.40
A. Khudobin 8 17 6 .900 2.72