The Carolina Hurricanes have signed forward Tuomo Ruutu to a four-year contract extension that will pay him $19 million over the course of the contract, with an average annual value of $4.75 million. The terms of the contract will pay Ruutu $4 million in 2012-13, and $5 million per year for the remaining years. According to Chip Alexander of the News and Observer, the deal also includes a no-trade clause for the first three years of the contract.
Ruutu was considered by multiple teams to be a prime target for acquisition leading up to the February 27th trade deadline, until Hurricanes General Manager Jim Rutherford recently went public with the statement that he was making it a priority to re-sign the popular Finnish forward. Rutherford is not known for negotiating contract extensions during the season, but he made an exception to his policy earlier by re-signing Tim Gleason to a four year extension, and now has also locked up Ruutu.
Ruutu, 29, was drafted 9th in the 2001 NHL entry draft by the Chicago Blackhawks and was acquired by the Hurricanes on February 26, 2008, in a trade for Andrew Ladd. He was leading the team in goals scored (17) and was tied for the team lead in hits (106) when he suffered an upper body injury during a game against the Montreal Canadiens on February 13th, and is expected to be out of the lineup until early March.
The official press release from the Hurricanes follows.
RALEIGH, NC – Jim Rutherford, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has agreed to terms with forward Tuomo Ruutu on a four-year contract extension. The deal will pay Ruutu $4 million in 2012-13, and $5 million per season in the 2013-14, 2014-15 and 2015-16 seasons.
“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.”
Ruutu, 29, ranks second among Hurricanes skaters in goals (17) and fourth in points (30) in 57 games this season. The Vantaa, Finland, native is second on the team in hits (106) and tied for fourth on the team in plus/minus (+3). Ruutu played in his 500th career NHL game on Dec. 31 at Tampa Bay, and had a six-game point streak from Dec. 15-27 (5 goals, 2 assists).
Originally drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks with the ninth overall selection of the 2001 NHL Entry Draft, Ruutu has totaled 128 goals, 167 assists (295 points) and 498 penalty minutes in 517 career NHL games with Chicago and Carolina. The Hurricanes acquired Ruutu from Chicago on Feb. 26, 2008, in exchange for Andrew Ladd, and he has earned 187 points (80g, 107a) in 289 games with Carolina. He established single-season career highs in goals (26) in 2008-09, and points (57) in 2010-11, and made his Stanley Cup playoff debut in 2009, helping the Hurricanes reach the Eastern Conference Final.
Ruutu has represented his native Finland in 10 major international tournaments, including the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, when Finland won bronze. He was third among all skaters in goals at the 2011 IIHF World Championship, leading Finland to the gold medal.
Update 9:00 pm - A few articles:
WRALSportsFan.com: Ruutu agrees to 4-year deal with Canes
newsobserver.com: Canes Now - Ruutu agrees to four-year extension
newsobserver.com: Canes Now - At almost $5 million a year, Ruutu deal raises the bar
And finally from the man himself: Tuomo Ruutu Audio