Remember, this team still has a budget. They aren't going to pay Ruutu $8 million to disappear.
Yep, and my biggest fear right now is that Rutherford will start throwing prospects and draft picks at teams just to take Ruutu's contract like he's done in the past(and probably still retain some of his salary). Canes have very little in the pipeline right now and IMO, can't afford to be tossing away what little chance we have for cheap talent down the road.
Ruutu could easily end up being jokinen all over again. I agree he has overall been an anchor with his contract - but moving him at his worst does nothing to help us. His value can't get worse so we might as well play him back into shape THEN try. If we made the playoffs he'd still be a contributor. We lack what he brings so until we get someone else that brings what he does we should keep him. We have to pay someone to take him right now, and it really sucks watching jokinen play for the pens with us paying salary.
I agree he is improving. At his best he's overpriced IMO, but better to get the rewards of his improved play then get hosed in a deal and watch him contribute playing a role on a deeper team than us.