Pittsburgh's pest and hometown favorite Jarkko Ruutu runs a chance of sporting another sweater next season. Will the guy who has elicited Ruuuuuuuuu's from the crowd stay amongst the fans who have come to admire him, or will he face the same fate of his brother Tuomo and be forced to jump ship?
2007-08 Regular season stats
Hey, no one said he's going to rack up 50 points a season. But penalty minutes? Well, that's another story. At times Ruutu found himself in the role of enforcer, backing up guys like Malkin and Crosby, while also forming a Mighty Ducks 2-esque "Bash Brothers" bond with Georges Laraque and Gary Roberts. A team needs a guy like Ruutu. This time of the year though, needs and wants come in the form of dollar signs.
Is it necessary to hold onto a guy like Ruutu? A phenomenal contributor in the shootout, Ruutu built a cult following with the fans in Pitt and even earned a level of high regard when it came to shootout rounds. Both he and Kris Letang were the two best in the shootout for the Penguins this past season.
Consider this - Roberts, who has already retired once due to injuries, may come to a permanent decision sooner than later. Despite proclamations that he's not exactly done playing hockey yet, you have to factor it in regardless. Even signing Roberts runs a risk of having him out a few games next season.
As far as enforcers go, this leaves both Ruutu and Laraque as potential fills for the void left behind by the 42-year-old intimidator. Do you try and hold on to Ruutu? Do you try and budget a package deal with Ruu and Laraque? Or do you bid farewell to both in hopes of finding a replacement on the market or a younger, more affordable guy from the WBS squad?
Chime in friends.