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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 x - NYR 76 48 21 7 231 179 103
2 x - MTL 77 47 22 8 203 174 102
3 x - TBL 78 47 24 7 250 204 101
4 NYI 77 45 27 5 235 215 95
5 PIT 77 42 24 11 211 194 95
6 WSH 77 42 25 10 227 190 94
7 DET 76 40 23 13 221 208 93
8 BOS 77 39 25 13 204 198 91
9 OTT 76 38 26 12 220 204 88
10 FLA 77 35 27 15 192 210 85
11 PHI 77 31 29 17 202 220 79
12 CBJ 76 37 35 4 210 234 78
13 NJD 77 31 33 13 170 197 75
14 CAR 76 28 37 11 176 208 67
15 TOR 78 29 43 6 204 249 64
16 BUF 77 22 47 8 152 258 52

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
E. Staal 71 22 28 -12 50
J. Faulk 76 15 32 -19 47
E. Lindholm 75 16 21 -20 37
J. Skinner 71 18 13 -22 31
V. Rask 74 11 20 -13 31
N. Gerbe 72 9 17 -13 26
R. Nash 68 8 17 -10 25
J. McClement 76 7 13 -5 20
J. Staal 40 4 16 -6 20
J. Liles 51 2 17 -8 19
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Ward 20 22 5 .909 2.43
A. Khudobin 8 15 6 .904 2.60