Hurricanes acquire Loktionov from Devils for Ruutu

In exchange for Tuomo Ruutu, the Hurricanes acquired Andrei Loktionov, who has four goals and eight assists in 48 games in in this, his first full NHL season.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Spor

The Hurricanes traded increasingly unproductive veteran right wing Tuomo Ruutu to the Devils on Wednesday in exchange for 23-year-old center Andrei Loktionov and a conditional third-round pick.

Ruutu, who is earning $5 million this season, and will earn the same amount in each of the next two seasons, ranks 10th on the Hurricanes in scoring with five goals and 11 assists. He had slipped to eighth among Hurricanes forwards at 14:14 per game.

While Ruutu had a strong Olympic tournament for Finland, that did not translate into success for the Hurricanes. In his last five games, Ruutu did not produce a point and was a minus in three games (minus-4 overall).

Loktionov is earning $725,000 on a one-year contract and will be a restricted free agent.

Ruutu’s lack of production came at a particularly bad time for the Hurricanes. Coming out of the Olympic break, the Hurricanes are attempting to make a playoff run. However, they started off on a five-game road trip by losing to the worst team in the league, Buffalo, and then lost three more times by a combined 12-5 score. The ‘Canes broke that streak on Tuesday with a 3-2 overtime win. They remain six points out of the final wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference.

At times, the gritty Ruutu had been a very productive player for Carolina. He twice hit the 50-point threshold and as recently as 2010-11 he totaled 19 goals and 38 assists.

"Tuomo was a good player for the Hurricanes and we thank him for his contributions to our organization over the past seven years," Hurricanes general manager Jim Rutherford said in a statement.

Loktionov is very much a work in progress. He has four goals and eight assists in 48 games. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound Loktionov hardly seemed in favor with Devils coach Pete DeBoer. In January, he was scratched for nine out of 11 games.

Even in playing the last seven games, he logged fewer than 10 minutes of time on ice three times. Entering this season, Loktionov had 15 goals and 11 assists in 87 career games over parts of four seasons with both Los Angeles and New Jersey.

"Andrei is a young, skilled forward who will play on our power play," Rutherford said.

The ‘Canes reportedly also made it known that they would carry three goalies for the remainder of the season. Justin Peters’ conditioning assignment with Charlotte of the American Hockey League ended on Wednesday and the team recalled him.

By signing goalie Anton Khudobin to a two-year, $4.5-million contract extension on Tuesday, the ‘Canes demonstrated a commitment to Khudobin. That leaves the status of veteran Cam Ward, who backstopped the Hurricanes to the 2006 Stanley Cup, somewhat up in the air. Indications are that the Canes may end up waiting until the offseason to move Ward, who is earning $6.6 million this season and will earn $6.7 million next season and $6.8 million in 2015-16.