TSN’s Bob McKenzie is reporting that the Rangers have significant interest in Carolina Hurricanes’ winger Tuomo Ruutu. Ruutu is another guy in the Ryan Smyth mold, one that would make sense for the Rangers as he fits into their style of play. According to McKenzie, the cost for Ruutu is “a significant draft pick and a solid prospect or a top prospect alone.”
That is a very steep asking price, especially when Ruutu is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, when he will be 29 years old. The Hurricanes are clearly looking to rebuild, and it is expected that they would ask for a lot for one of their better players. That said, Ruutu is going to be a depth addition for any acquiring team, and a short term depth addition at that.
To break down that price in Rangers terms, a “significant draft pick” likely means a first-round pick, and a “solid prospect” likely means someone like Ryan Bourque. A “top prospect” would be someone along the lines of Tim Erixon, Dylan McIlrath, Chris Kreider, or Christian Thomas. The price, as it stands now, is simply unreasonable.
Looking at where he fits in for the Rangers, his presence would definitely be an upgrade on the left side, where the forwards have been juggled more often than Lindsay Lohan’s court dates. He would also serve as an upgrade over John Mitchell, who would likely be bumped from the everyday lineup if the Rangers were to land a forward.
That said, Ruutu doesn’t look like the answer to the Rangers powerplay woes, as he has just four powerplay points this season. Ruutu will be a presence in front of the net, but he’s not of the Smyth variety who makes a living out of it. This rumor has some decent legs to it, as it came from McKenzie, and not some fledgling writer looking for hits.