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Ducks Acquire Ruutu from Ottawa for Sixth Round Pick

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
The Ducks have acquired left wing Jarkko Ruutu from the Ottawa Senators in exchange for a sixth-round selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

“Jarkko is an effective, two-way player that we feel will help us down the stretch,” said Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray. “He’s the energetic, gritty type of addition we were looking for.”

Ruutu will not be able to join the Ducks until he receives his work visa.

Ruutu, 35 (8/23/75), has appeared in 629 career NHL contests, earning 57-83-140 points with 1,040 penalty minutes (PIM) with Vancouver, Pittsburgh and Ottawa. He appeared in 50 contests with the Senators this season, scoring 2-8=10 points with 59 PIM. In 2009-10, he established career highs with Ottawa for both goals (12) and points in a season (26). He also matched his career high in assists (14) in 2009-10 and was one of only two Senators to appear in all 82 contests (second time in career, also 2005-06). He appeared in his 500th career NHL contest on Oct. 12, 2009 vs. Pittsburgh.

A native of Vantaa, Finland, Ruutu joined Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu on the medal podium at both the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Turin, Italy (silver medal) and the 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver, British Columbia (bronze medal) as a member of Team Finland. A three-time Olympian, he also played for his native country at the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City, UT.  In addition, Ruutu is a veteran of six Finnish World Championship squads (silver in 2001, bronze in 2006) and appeared in the 2004 World Cup (with Selanne and Koivu).

Selected by Vancouver in the third round (68th overall) of the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Ruutu made his NHL debut on Nov. 20, 1999 at Nashville and scored his first NHL goal (shorthanded) on Jan. 24, 2001 vs. Phoenix. After playing six seasons with Vancouver, he signed as a free agent with Pittsburgh on July 4, 2006 and later with Ottawa on July 2, 2008. The 6-1, 204-pound winger is also a veteran of 55 career Stanley Cup Playoff contests, earning 5-5=10 points with 102 PIM. He advanced to the Stanley Cup Final with Pittsburgh in 2008, notching 2-1=3 points with 26 PIM in 20 games. Ruutu scored the game-winning goal in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals at Ottawa on April 16, 2008, helping the Penguins to a sweep of the Senators.

Ruutu spoke to media via conference call Thursday afternoon:

On the trade
It’s always a little surprising if you don’t expect it. It’s pretty natural on Ottawa’s behalf. I’m exciting to go to Anaheim. They have a good team and a couple of Finnish guys too. It’s exciting for me.

On potentially playing in the playoffs
That is what it’s all about. When you’re not in the playoffs, you’re not really playing for anything. Getting traded to a team that is playing really well lately and in the playoff race with how tight it is in the West, it’s really exciting for me.

On when he knew he may be traded soon
It all comes down to how the team plays. When you’re winning, there are no changes. When you are not winning and you’re the bottom of the standings, you know there are going to be changes. With the year we have had, it’s been a struggle. Going into free agency with my contract expiring, it’s pretty natural that it would happen.

On Ottawa’s changes
The biggest surprise is that guys like Fisher and Kelly got moved. But the direction the Senators are going is young. They have to make changes and stock up on draft picks. There have been coaching changes the last couple of years, so I think they have to look the other way.

On playing with several Finnish players in Anaheim
I know the guys pretty well. I’ve played with everyone on the national team. Many times before the season, the guys would come over here, especially Lydman and Teemu, and we would practice. We know each other. I played with Lydman too in the IFK back home before I came over. I’m very familiar with all the guys.

On how soon he’ll be able to play with the Ducks
It’s not really up to me. Hopefully, as soon as possible. With the visa issues, I’m actually in a good spot for that. In Ottawa, I’m right next to the embassy pretty much. I think that will help a little bit. I would want to play tonight if that would be possible. Tomorrow is the first game. I’m ready to jump in any time.

On his style of play
There are going to see a guy who plays both ends of the ice. I keep it simple and am defensive-minded. I try to create energy on the ice and make it tough for the other team to play. It’s nothing fancy, but I think effective.

On his career-year last season
The team was playing well and we had good things going here. When you’re winning, you do a lot of good things. Everybody is happy and you produce point-wise. It would be the opposite this year, when the team has been struggling, everybody has been struggling. It’s been a frustrating year, but I feel good and am excited for the opportunity.

On what he will miss about Ottawa
I liked playing in a Canadian city, where people are really passionate. That is always the number one thing that comes to my mind about Canada. Here it’s all about hockey. People talk about it and stop you in the streets to talk about hockey.

On following the Ducks
I’ve been following them pretty closely the last couple of days for some reason and I think they have been actually playing pretty well. I also played with Andy Sutton last year. That would be it. I don’t think I played with anybody else there (beside the Finnish players). I happened to be in front of the TV. When there is not many games going on and there is Finnish guys playing, you watch them. It was a good opportunity for me to see how they played.

On his position
Here I mostly have been playing left wing. But throughout my career, I have played every position. I have played both the wings and a couple of times, I have played center. I’m a winger. It doesn’t really matter for me if it’s a left or right winger.

On going in and out of the lineup recently
It’s frustrating when that happens. It’s natural when things are going in the wrong direction. There have to be changes and you want to try different things to turn things around. It hasn’t been fun. But I always battle through situations like that. That has happened throughout my career on every team and every franchise. It’s nothing new and I know how to handle it.

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