With all eyes on the status of goaltender Martin Brodeur on Wednesday, the New Jersey Devils made a smaller move getting forward Tuomo Ruutu from the Carolina Hurricanes for center Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third round pick in 2017.
It is not the kind of move that many Devils fans wanted, but hopefully a change of scenery is just what Ruutu needs. He has been awful this season with the Hurricanes, only scoring 16 points over 57 games. He has been an up and down player every season of his career, and the former ninth overall pick is looking to once again find his 20 plus goal scoring ways.
The good news is Ruutu is only 31 years old, so he still has plenty of career left in him. He has two years left on his deal, but the $4.5 million cap hit will be hard to take if he can’t turn it around. Good news for the Devils is that when the Hurricanes acquired him from the Chicago Blackhawks, he scored 54 points in his first full season. Lou Lamoriello must have been thinking that may be the kind of player he was getting in return.
Loktionov was a fan favorite on the Devils; everyone loved his work ethic and how much he seemed to love the game. The fact is, he was brought back this season on a one-year deal to play with Ilya Kovalchuk. He is no longer with this team, and it seemed like there was a problem finding the right place for him on this team.
Again, Ruutu was not the big move many wanted, and it kind of came out of the blue. Everyone will try to make their own assumptions, but let’s not judge until they take the ice on Friday. Maybe putting him with some good linemates will change the way he plays.
The problem is that this team needed scoring, and they didn’t seem to get what they needed.
Nick Villano is the New Jersey Devils writer for Rant Sports. He also adds to the site’s NFL, NBA and MLB content. You can follow him on Twitter here.