The NHL and and its locked-out players may be inching closer toward a new collective bargaining agreement. But if training camp opens soon, the Carolina Hurricanes will have to start the season without Tuomo Ruutu, one of their key forwards.
Ruutu recently had hip surgery and is expected to be out until at least early May.
The Hurricanes were aggressive in the offseason in adding Alexander Semin and Jordan Staal up front. But their spending started earlier last year, when they signed Ruutu to a four-year, $19 million contract extension in February, preventing him from hitting unrestricted free agency this summer.
Until signing that extension, Ruutu was the trade target of a number of contending teams near the deadline.
The versatile Ruutu finished last season with 18 goals in 72 games for the Hurricanes.