On NHL trade deadline day the New Jersey Devils pulled off a trade, just not one involving goaltender Martin Brodeur (yet). Instead the Devils traded away Andrei Loktionov and a conditional pick in the 2017 draft to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for center Tuomo Ruutu.
Ruutu is a rugged center with some scoring touch, notching over 50 points in a season twice in his 10 year career, but he has not accomplished that feat since the 2010-11 season for the ‘Canes. He has 5 goals and 11 assists this year so far. The 31 year old Ruutu, who represented Finland at the Sochi Olympics last month, will add some grit to the current Devils roster, an element which they could use down the stretch for their playoff push.
The Devils are currently 11th in the Eastern Conference with 67 points, but trail the eighth seeded Columbus Blue Jackets by only two points, so by no means are they out of playoff contention. This deal for a veteran presence, coupled with the retention of Brodeur, clearly shows that the Devils are going to make a push towards a playoff spot this season, rather than build with an eye towards the future.
Loktionov, a 23 year old center, was in only his second season in the NHL. He notched just 4 goals and 8 assists thus far for in 2013-14.