Tuomo Iisakki Ruutu
Born February 16, 1983 (age 28) in Vantaa, Finland
Left winger for the Carolina Hurricanes
This guy’s name has come up in recent trade talk, so let’s find out about him. Tuomo comes from a hockey family – his brother Mikko is a retired player, and another brother Jarkko is a former NHL player who plays for Jokerit. That team, in fact, is where Tuomo played after playing for their rival HIFK for a season; he played there for two seasons and then went back to HIFK for a season after being drafted by the Chicago Blackhawks in 2001. When he came to North America to wear the Indian Head jersey, he played in all 82 games. During the lockout he didn’t play anywhere unlike the majority of the league – he’d been injured and was recovering. But that didn’t mean he just sat around, because he and fellow Finn Ville Nieminen provided color commentary for Finnish television during the World Championships! He came back to the league ready to go, but a back injury that fall and ankle surgery in January ruined his season.
Tuomo was part of Team Finland for the 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the 2006 World Championships, but after he did poorly at Worlds he entertained the idea of retiring (what). The Blackhawks quickly shushed him by signing him to a two-year deal, but two years later he was traded to the Carolina Hurricanes for Andrew Ladd. They signed him to a one-year contract and then a three-year extension, and he hasn’t disappointed them. Oh, and did I mention that he was on the Finnish team that won gold in last year’s World Championships? Yeah, he was.
He’s currently a high priority for the Canes in terms of getting an extension. Maybe if he re-signs with them, he can hang out with such notables as the Smurfs (Les Schtroumpfs in French) for a few more years.