Tag:Jim Rutherford
Posted on: February 22, 2012 3:47 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 3:51 pm

Ruutu off the market, re-signs with Hurricanes

Ruutu's career high was 26 goals in 2008-09 with Carolina. (Getty Images)

By Brian Stubits

Just the same as they did with Tim Gleason a few weeks ago, the Carolina Hurricanes took another player off the trade market by instead signing them to an extension. This time it's forward Tuomo Ruutu.

It wasn't long ago that Ruutu was being described as one of the top names on the trade market this season. It wasn't saying a whole lot for the market as a whole with so few sellers, but Ruutu was going to garner interest as an available top-six forward.

Just five days from the deadline and with him still in Carolina, you can scratch that. There had been increasing talk that the 'Canes were going to re-sign Ruutu instead of trading him and that's exactly what they have done.

The deal is for four seasons and will pay Ruutu $4.75 million per season. That's from GM Jim Rutherford courtesy of Chip Alexander of the News & Observer. The 'Canes are one of the few teams that releases contract information. It will also reportedly include a no-movement clause for the first three seasons.

"He's an important player to our team," Rutherford said. "He's the type of player that, long term, would be hard to replace."

That does underscore a valuable point this trade season. So often teams trade away a star for prospects and a pick and so often it's almost impossible to get the same production in return. Sometimes you need to take the sure bet and keep the player who you know.

NHL Trade Deadline
More NHL coverage

The deal seems a bit high to me, personally. Ruutu is a good forward and supposedly very good as a team presence, but with that kind of money he's going to pick up the scoring a little bit. This season he has 17 goals and 13 assists in 57 games. To make the contract worth it for a team that is often on the short end of the payroll scale, you'd like to see him consistently score in the high 20s or even the 30s.

He was already carrying a cap hit of $3.8 million this season, so a rise was coming anyway. Now he's a Hurricanes through the 2016-17 season, the same length as captain Eric Staal.

More from Eye on Hockey

Ruutu to miss three weeks
Gleason re-signs for four seasons

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:50 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2012 4:42 pm

Tim Gleason signs 4-year deal with Hurricanes

GleasonBy: Adam Gretz

The Carolina Hurricanes are one of the top teams circulating in the rumor mill right now, and while one of their upcoming free agents (forward Tuomo Ruutu) could soon be on the move, another one has been taken off the market.

The team announced on Monday afternoon that defenseman Tim Gleason has signed a four-year contract extension, a deal that will pay him a total of $16 million, which comes out to a salary cap hit of $4 million per season.

Had the two sides not agreed to a new deal he would have either been an unrestricted free agent on July 1, or been dealt before the Feb. 27 trade deadline as his name was one of the most popular ones in trade talks.

"It’s kind of a nightmare, but it comes with the territory," Gleason said. "I was going somewhere every day for the last month."

Said general manager Jim Rutherford, “We thank Tim for choosing to stay with the Hurricanes long term. He is one of our core players, someone who brings character and leadership to our locker room, along with being a key piece on the ice. This is a very important signing for our team going forward.”

Head coach Kirk Muller added to that sentiment.

"He’s played hard, and he’s done a great job of shutting the top lines recently," Muller said. "The organization is real excited that he wanted to make a commitment to stay here and be a part of what we’re doing."

The 29-year-old defenseman has one goal and 13 assists this season in 51 games, and has recorded 114 points in 599 NHL games. That said, offense has little to do with what he brings to the table for the Hurricanes as he is their go-to player for the top defensive assignments, and is one of the more underrated defensive-defenseman in the league.

Gleason has been with the Hurricanes since the start of the 2006-07 season when he was acquired from Los Angeles in the deal that sent Jack Johnson to the Kings.

Photo: Getty Images

Also at Eye On Hockey

Tuomo Ruutu could soon be on the move
More Carolina Hurricanes news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: January 30, 2012 12:30 pm
Edited on: February 2, 2012 1:06 pm

Tuomo Ruutu could soon be on the move

By: Adam Gretz

Less than a month away from the NHL trade deadline and rumors are quickly starting to fly.

One of the busiest teams this year is expected be the Carolina Hurricanes, as they're currently near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings and have a number of players eligible for unrestricted free agency this summer. One of those players is forward Tuomo Ruutu, and he could be on the move as early as this week according to ESPN's Pierre LeBrun and TSN's Darren Dreger.

Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford has always been aggressive when it comes to making moves, and has already made a couple this season.  A couple of weeks he sent upcoming free agent Alexei Ponikarovsky to the New Jersey Devils for defenseman Joe Sova and a fourth-round draft pick, which came just weeks after he shipped disappointing defenseman Tomas Kaberle and the remainder of his contract to the Montreal Canadiens for Jaroslav Spacek. And there could soon be more where that came from.

Ruutu should be able to bring the Hurricanes a better return. In 51 games this season he has 15 goals and 11 assists, and over the past four years has scored at a rate that would average out to nearly 20 goals per 82 games. Any team that trades for him will be on the hook for the remainder of his salary cap hit, which for this week would come out to about $1.3 million for the rest of the season.

There is no shortage of contenders that could be interested, but keep an eye on Pittsburgh, Nashville or Boston, all teams that would Ruutu seem to be an excellent fit for given his aggressive forechecking and the fact at least two of those teams, Pittsburgh and Nashville, could use some an upgrade when it comes to secondary scoring on the wings.

Still, at this point it just seems to be a matter of when and where rather than if. Once that shoe falls the focus will then surely shift to Carolina's other upcoming free agents.

Also at Eye On Hockey

Gleason signs four-year deal with the Hurricanes
More Carolina Hurricanes news

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.
Posted on: December 9, 2011 11:58 am
Edited on: December 9, 2011 2:26 pm

Hurricanes trade Kaberle to Canadiens for Spacek

By Brian Stubits

This summer, the Carolina Hurricanes invested $4.25 million per season for three seasons on Tomas Kaberle, a lot of people around the NHL could only laugh, but obviously the 'Canes had faith.

Fast forward to December and the 'Canes have traded Kaberle to the Montreal Canadiens -- as first reported by Darren Dreger -- ending a very short-lived but painful era for the folks in Carolina and, presumably, Kaberle. In return, the Habs sent defenseman Jaroslav Spacek to Carolina.

“This deal brings a solid, veteran defenseman to our team for the remainder of this season and allows us more flexibility with our roster moving forward,” Carolina GM Jim Rutherford said. What he didn't say there was how happy he was he could find a taker for Kaberle.

That's a big burden off Carolina's back, $12.75 million over the next three years that the Canadiens are now on the hook for. Of course, Montreal is no stranger to bad contracts (ahem, Scott Gomez).

When discussing the deal that was signed this summer, Rutherford was about as honest as a GM can get, telling Chip Patterson of the News & Oberserver, "I should have known better." Ouch!

Meanwhile in Spacek, the 'Canes get a player making slightly less money ($3.83 million), and maybe more importantly get a contract that expires after this season.

In the end, you have to like this move from Carolina's perspective, don't you? The marriage of the two couldn't have been annulled quicker for 'Canes fans. To say that Kaberle has been a disappointment would be an understatement. In 29 games played, Kaberle is goal-less and has nine assists while sporting a hideous minus-12. One of his big responsibilities, moving the puck on the power play, hasn't been going swimmingly, either. The Hurricanes are 26th in the NHL in power play percentage.

So sending him out of town is a nice move for Carolina, regardless of what they net in return. Quite honestly, the return isn't all that much but another bad contract. Spacek, 37, has been limited to just 12 games this season and has just three points to speak of. Still, the deal doesn't seem bad for Carolina at all.

"I think that trade is good for me," Spacek was quoted by Renaud P. Lavoie of RDS. "I hope it will be a good one for the Hurricanes."

From a Montreal perspective, however, I'm left scratching my head a bit. What do the Habs stand to benefit from taking on my payroll for a longer commitment for a player that is, even nothing else, past his prime?

"There are no dangers, only opportunities," Canadiens GM Pierre Gauthier said about the skepticism of landing Kaberle. No dangers? Really?

It should have been warning enough that this now makes four teams in the last calendar year for Kaberle having begun last season with the Maple Leafs before being traded to the Bruins and joining them for the Cup run. He then signed this offseason with the Hurricanes, who couldn't wait to undo the move.

I'm sure he'll be welcome with open arms by the Montreal faithful hoping the team can turn things around (where's that damn sarcasm font button?).

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 30, 2011 8:08 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 8:28 pm

Kaberle isn't working out in Carolina so far

Kaberle1By: Adam Gretz

The slow start for the Carolina Hurricanes has resulted in a change behind the bench with Kirk Muller taking over for Paul Maurice earlier this week, and it could soon lead to some changes on the blue line if free agent acquisition Tomas Kaberle doesn't start to play better. That's the message general manager Jim Rutherford sent on Wednesday evening when he appeared on XM Home Ice and was asked about the slow start for his big offseason addition.

When asked if he's seen anything that makes him think Kaberle, who signed a three-year, $12.75 million contract over the summer, can return to the level of play he demonstrated throughout his career, mainly with the Toronto Maple Leafs, Rutherford was brutally honest.

"He hasn't played up to what we would have hoped he would play," said Rutherford. "He came into camp and he didn't prepare himself properly. He came in like the Boston Bruins did, they won the Stanley Cup, he enjoyed his summer and quite frankly he hasn't caught up."

"He's still a real good player," Rutherford continued. "I don't know what's going to end up happening with him here now cause we have the young kid, [Justin] Falk, the 19-year-old that we're real happy about. We like young players like [Derek] Joslin, and he may very well get lost in the shuffle here and I don't know where it goes from there. I know there are some teams that are interested in him but they're not quite sure they want to take on all the money so that becomes a little more complicated. But he got off to a slow start, totally by his own doing, and now he has to figure out a way to get out of it or he won't be playing with the Hurricanes long."

The veteran defenseman has struggled so much this season that he was a healthy scratch during the team's 4-3 loss in Ottawa on Sunday.

In 25 games this season he's yet to score a goal and has been credited with just five assists. Throughout his career he's typically been a 40-50 point producer over 82 games, with a career-high of 67 during the 2005-06 season. Last season, which he split with Toronto and Boston, he scored four goals to go with 43 assists during the regular season and added 11 assists in 25 playoff games for the Stanley Cup winning Bruins.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:13 pm

Hurricanes GM among 10 new ownership partners

By Brian Stubits

The Carolina Hurricanes announced the addition of 10 new people to the ownership group. Out of those 10 people, nine are based in North Carolina. Good day for 'Canes fans, adds a lot of stability to the franchise, etc.

“These new partners are devoted to the continued success of the Hurricanes in North Carolina,” principal owner and team CEO Peter Karmanos Jr. said. “Their investments in our team further solidify our franchise’s standing in the National Hockey League and the North Carolina sports community.”

From the team's release, here are the new partners.

Eight of the ten partners are: Michael Kahn, Capitol Broadcasting Company, Inc. (James Goodmon, A.J. Fletcher Foundation), Matthew Szulik, Ice Puck LLC (Orris Temple Sloan, Jr.), Clancy & Theys Construction (David Tim Clancy, Joel Thomas Irving Clancy, Kathryn Virginia Clancy, Robert Todd Clancy, Sarah Elizabeth Sturm), Jim Rutherford, Hurricanes Investment, LLC (Abel Zalcberg, Barbara Zalcberg) and Whitney Holdings Inc. (Frederick J. Whitney, Timothy M. Whitney). The remaining two investment partners have chosen to keep their partnerships private.

OK, nice broad list of pe ... WHOA! Jim Rutherford, as in the organization's general manager? THAT Jim Rutherford? That would be the one.

That just made for a really interesting dynamic in Carolina. Now the GM is also an owner. While Rutherford's job seems incredibly safe, what with him being the only GM the Carolina Hurricanes have known and him recently signing an extension through the 2015-16 season.

Imagine that board meeting when the partners are all getting frustrated with the team, saying it needs a new direction. That moment wouldn't be awkward or anything. Or imagine -- tough to, I know -- a situation where Karmanos fires Rutherford. Does he remain in the ownership group at that point? Even further, imagine when Rutherford finally vacates the GM seat but remains an owner, there will be a heavy shadow hanging over the new GM.

It's an interesting dynamic, for sure, although not the first time. Michael Jordan has been in the same position with the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. And if everything works out with the team, it will prove as a great source of continuity and stability.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: November 2, 2011 2:21 pm

Hurricanes' Jokinen out at least 3-4 weeks (leg)

By Brian Stubits

The Carolina Hurricanes have received little production from captain Eric Staal in the first 12 games. He has just two goals and three assists while sporting a horrid minus-12. Yet the 'Canes have picked up at least one point in eight of their 12 games so far. Jussi Jokinen is one of the reasons why, he is second on the team with nine points (behind Jeff Skinner's 12).

This is where the bad news comes in. Jokinen will be out at least three to four weeks after sustaining an injury in the third period of Tuesday night's win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. According to Chip Patterson of the News & Observer, Jokinen awkwardly twisted his left leg early as he fell back over the Lightning's Ryan Shannon.

"It didn't look good and it isn't good," GM Jim Rutherford said of the injury. "We'll know more after Jussi sees the doctor again today and the time could change. But it will not change to less time."

Yep, that's bad news alright. Especially the part where he says that the timetable for a return will only go up if it moves at all.

Jokinen has been a 50-plus point scorer in the last two seasons with the Hurricanes. He has become a critical part of their attack. Without him in the lineup, it will only further increase the need to get Staal back on top of his game.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: September 23, 2011 1:41 pm
Edited on: September 26, 2011 2:09 pm

Southeast Division preview: Still chasing Caps

By Brian Stubits

The days of the South-least Division are slowly fading away.

For the last half decade, the Southeast Division has been the Washington Capitals' playground with four teams chasing. Of course the Caps have been very good through that time, but fattening up on their division "rivals" undoubtedly helped them to four straight division championships.

Just take the 2009-10 season as an example. That year the Capitals had 18 more points than the next closest team in the East while no other team in the division finished even in the top nine of the conference standings. That's especially amazing when you consider there are only 15 teams in the East.

They stil finished atop the East despite a transformation. Head coach Bruce Boudreau changed the way the team plays, trying to lock down on defense. As a result, the league's highest-scoring team the past few years dipped all the way to 19th in scoring. Alex Ovechkin had a very good season by almost anybody's standards. Just not his own.

The trick for Boudreau is to find that happy medium. They showed defense is something they can and in the past they showed they can score. Now they need to show they can do both. If they don't, especially early, Boudreau will hear the calls for his firing. The most successful regular-season team hasn't done enough after it to satisfy the increasingly antsy and demanding fan base.

But the somewhat surprising emergence of the Lightning last year has beefed up the division's rep. Tampa Bay figured to be on its way back up the NHL ladder, but the boom that came out of last season seemed to be ahead of schedule. Now the division has two of the game's elite scorers in Steven Stamkos and Ovechkin. With the Bolts unceremoniously sweeping the Caps in the playoffs last year, we just might have the beginning of an actual division rival for Washington.

The division also features something new: the most amped up fan base in the league, at least for one season. The Winnipeg Jets are still stuck playing in a division that will have them being true fish out of water. To say the Jets will suffer from jet-lag isn't just a fun pun but a reality they face. With that said, what was one of the easiest road trips in the NHL just became one of the toughest, especially for the teams in the Southeast that should look into taking the Concord to Manitoba.

Southeast Division (in order of predicted finish)

Washington Capitals: The Caps have become one of the league's elite teams and have done a pretty remarkable job of keeping their core together. Well this offseason owner Ted Leonsis and crew decided it was time to shake up the roster a touch to try and find the missing recipe to move Washington deeper into the playoffs. Enter Joel Ward, Troy Brouwer and Tomas Vokoun among others. I don't think there was a bigger offseason addition in this division than the Caps getting Vokoun, especially when you factor in the salary he'll be getting. Vokoun's talents have been hidden in Florida in the past four seasons, but he's an excellent goaltender but he is (or at least was) prone to prolonged slumps. As for Ward and Brouwer, they considerably beef up the Caps' toughness up front along the boards who are very capable two-way players.

Strengths: They have shown they can do every facet of the game well. It is a challenge to find a more talented team in hockey, including on the blue line. That's not something you could say in the past, but John Carlson and Karl Alzner complement each other well enough to make one of the best young defenseman duos in the NHL.

Weaknesses: It is tough to pinpoint any with this team, it is very well-rounded. It will be interesting to see how they handle expectations and increased heat when they hit some rough patches. Also, from an organizational standpoint the team has very little room to maneuver under the salary cap. That could be worth monitoring if/when GM George McPhee decided to tweak the roster.

Tampa Bay Lightning: Everything came together for a great run to a seven-game series in the Eastern Conference finals last season under new coach Guy Boucher. He brought in the ol' 1-3-1 system that seemed to be a magic trick for the Bolts. Now the question becomes can they repeat or was last year lightning in a bottle (that pun really was not intended)? One thing strongly in their favor is that the return almost the entire roster intact from last season. They did lose a couple of players such as Simon Gagne, but not much in the way of being unable to repair. one player who is back is Eric Brewer, and he'll be better for having spent camp and beginning the season in Tampa Bay. It will be interesting to see how this team fares with expectations on their shoulders.

Strengths: They roll out two excellent lines at the top. The Ryan Malone-Stamkos-Martin St. Louis line is one of the best in the game and the second group of Nate Thompson-Vincent Lecavalier-Teddy Purcell isn't too shabby, especially if Purcell continues his growth. They also had excellent special teams last year, ranking in the top 8 of both power play (it helps to have Stamkos, who scores 17 on the PP last year) and penalty kill a season ago. I also love the man on their bench as Boucher is a star in the making among coaches.

Weaknesses: I am still not in love with the goaltending situation. Dwayne Roloson was very good after being picked up by GM Steve Yzerman (he would qualify as another strength), but he just doesn't inspire a lot of confidence in me to keep it up. The addition of Mathieu Garon to back him up is a good one, though. Moreover, consistency might be an issue, especially for Stamkos. He really slowed down last season, failing to score 50 goals when he appeared to be on his way to 60 midseason.

Carolina Hurricanes: If the playoffs were a night club, the Hurricanes have been the guy standing at the front of the line until the bouncer says they're full. Every year it seems they are squarely on the playoff bubble, including last season when it came down to Game 82, which was a sound defeat. This season figures to be more of the same for the 'Canes as they might just be the next-best thing to a playoff team the East has to offer. They had a very pleasant surprise in Calder Trophy winner Jeff Skinner last season and captain Eric Staal is still leading the show. Gone, though, is another Carolina long-timer in Erik Cole (now in Montreal). One thing you have to love about this franchise, though, is its consistency. GM Jim Rutherford has been there ever since they became the Hurricanes (and before). It seems like their best players don't leave the organization, either. Hopefully for them the consistency in their finishes doesn't stay the same, but instead they crack the postseason. But in a beefed up East, that will be tougher said than done.

Strengths: They have an excellent captain in Staal, both from a leadership standpoint and player quality. They also boast one of the better goalies in the league in Cam Ward, an All-Star last season. And there's that whole consitency thing they have going on, often helps in the old chemistry department.

Weaknesses: There is not much depth to talk about in Carolina. After Stall, Skinner, Jussi Jokinen and Tuomo Ruutu, they aren't likely going to find a whole lot of scoring. They also don't posses a ton of size among the forwards, hence the reason they brought in Anthony Stewert and Alex Ponikarovsky this offseason to help. There just doesn't seem to be enough to crack the postseason, but Rutherford admits to this being somewhat of a "rebuilding" phase. That's a pretty competitive team for one that's rebuilding.

Florida Panthers: The Panthers were incredibly active in the free-agent market in July, adding a slew of veterans to hold the tide while the youngsters develop. Undoubtedly the Panthers are better than they were last season, but how much better? They did lose arguably their best player in Vokoun and are replacing him with the combination of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen, not exactly an exciting development. But it can't be denied that the Panthers now at least have NHL-quality players across their lines (and defensive pairings, led by Brian Campbell and Ed Jovanovski), but they still aren't high-quality players, not guys that you figure can get them into the playoffs, finally. The trick in Florida is not doing anything now to hinder the future, which is very bright as the system is loaded.

Strengths: I do like the defensive corps they are putting together, especially if 2010 No. 3 overall draft pick Erik Gudbranson makes the team as expected. It's very hard to say at this point with so many new faces coming together what kind of strenghts we're looking at, it's tough to predict how they will play together. But we do know something that isn't likely be a strength this year ...

Weaknesses: The aforementioned goaltender position. With Vokoun gone, the Panthers are relying on the combination of Jose Theodore and Scott Clemmensen. Now, both do have experience, Theodore more so than the Clemmer, but in no way do they make up for what Vokoun, Florida's best player in recent seasons, took with him. You also have to wonder about chemistry issues with this team having brought in so many new faces. We'll put new coach Kevin Dineen as an "unknown."

Winnipeg Jets: The virtue of such a home-ice advantage will likely make the Jets a little better than the Thrashers were last season, but not enough. Thankfully for them the new home crowd in Winnipeg will just be jacked to have hockey back. They will need to take advantage of the home crowd, especially with a stretch of 10 home games in 11 contests that stretches from the end of November through December. But they will need to find scoring punch, especially from the forward group. They have excellent point producers among the defensemen in Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom, but Ladd needs more help. Hopefully, that's where Evander Kane will fit in. In his third year since being drafted in the first round (all of his time spent at the NHL level) this could be the year he steps up his game and becomes a franchise fixture. He is already a popular figure partly by virtue of his Twitter account and the way he has taken to Winnipeg.

Strengths: They were above average on the power play last season, finishing 12th in the league thanks to Byfuglien and Enstrom. Thrown in the potential of Zach Bogosian as an offensive weapon and that's a lunch of firepower coming back the blue line. I like Ondrej Pavelec in net if he can get a little better support from his teammates. I will put one more in this category, and that's the patience of the front office. They have a lot of first-round talent on the roster and they don't seem willing to abandon the long-term plan for a quick fix to appease the riled up fans.

Weaknesses: The forwards need to show more. Outside of Ladd, nobody up front cracked the 20-goal barrier last season in Atlanta. They need to find a way to tighten down defensively after giving up the second-most goals per game in hockey last year at 3.20. The forwards doing a better job of creating scoring chances and possessing the puck will certainly contribute. The penalty kill was almost equally bad last year, clocking in at 27th in the NHL. Like the Panthers, we'll put new coach Claude Noel as an "unknown."

NHL season preview schedule
Wed., Sept. 21: Step-back players Tues., Sept. 27: Atlantic Division
Thur., Sept. 22: Breakout players Wed., Sept. 28: Central Division
Fri., Sept. 23: Southeast Division Thur. Sept. 29: Northeast Division
Mon., Sept. 26: Pacific Division Fri., Sept. 30: Northwest Division

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com