Chip Alexander of the Raleigh News and Observer reports that Hurricanes forward Tuomo Ruutu will miss the next three weeks of action with an upper-body injury, casting doubt on his availability for the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
Ruutu suffered the injury during Monday’s win over Montreal after absorbing what appeared to be an innocuous hit from Canadiens center Tomas Plekanec. The incident occurred just three minutes into the first period — Ruutu immediately left the contest and did not return.
Ruutu is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this summer and is seen by many as the marquee name available at the deadline. That said, Hurricanes GM Jim Rutherford is exploring the possibility of re-signing him before Feb. 27.
“[The injury] will have no impact,” Rutherford said. “The fact that we’d like him to stay and like to re-sign him has not changed in any way.”
Ruutu leads the ‘Canes in goals, with 17, and is tied for second on the team in scoring with 30 points. He’s also one of only six Hurricanes with a plus rating this year (+3) and leads Carolina in hits, with 106.