The Devils activated Ruutu off injured reserve on Thursday. He’s been out of the lineup since sustaining a fractured foot on October 16, just three games into the season. He’s missed 27 games.
The 32-year-old played 77 games for the Devils last season, scoring seven goals and six assists. He also put up a team-leading 174 hits. He’s posted as many as 307 hits in a single season, which he did during the 2010-11 campaign with the Carolina Hurricanes.
“A lot of it is mental. Go in the corner, take a hit, give a hit and get emotional,” Ruutu said after morning skate, discussing how important it will be for him to get up to speed quickly. “I think once I get emotional I don’t have to think about it. That’s the way I play my best games.”
He’s a depth player, but the Devils will be glad to have him back as they’ve cycled through a number of injuries, including the loss of star forwards Travis Zajac and Adam Henrique. Ruutu will skate on the fourth line with Jordin Tootoo and Stephen Gionta.
Devils have activated Tuomo Ruutu off injured reserve.
— NJDevilsPR (@NJDevilsPR) December 17, 2015
Dustin Nelson is the News Editor for The Hockey Writers. He’s a contributor to Hockey Prospectus, Hockey Wilderness, and writes a column for Rotowire. He’s also written for Gone Puck Wild, Wild Xtra, InDigest, Electric Literature, The Rumpus, Tiny Mix Tapes, Prefix Magazine & other publications. Have a tip? Email him at dlukenelson[at]gmail[dot]com.