The Carolina Hurricanes seem like the team to watch at this 2012 NHL trade deadline, and that sort of makes sense. They're a team in transition and they're well out of the picture when it comes to the playoffs.
They were able to hold on to an important blue line piece when they signed defenseman Tim Gleason to a contract extension, but that doesn't mean they'll be trying to hold on to every asset in their control. General manager Jim Rutherford is expected to be busy over the next 20 or so days, and it could all begin with forward Tuomo Ruutu.
Bob McKenzie of TSN reports that the decision to trade Ruutu will come this week, and that it'll ultimately be the player's decision whether he wants to stay in Carolina or not. Rutherford is asking for a high draft pick or a top prospect for Ruutu, who will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. He has a cap hit of $3.8 million, and it's completely unclear whether a team would be willing to pay that price for a player that could wind up being a rental.
There are certainly teams who could use Ruutu's services, but before a deal can happen, two questions need to be answered: Will they pony up what Rutherford's asking, and does Ruutu even want to leave in the first place?