Since being traded from the Carolina Hurricanes to the New Jersey Devils on March 5, Tuomo Ruutu hasn't looked back on what was a disappointing season through his first 57 games.
Jaromir Jagr is a big reason why Ruutu has turned the page so quickly. Plain and simple, Jagr has helped Ruutu go from fantasy irrelevance to being on the cusp of deep-league ownership in a matter of days.
Jaromir Jagr has helped Tuomo Ruutu go from fantasy irrelevance to being on the cusp of deep-league ownership in a matter of days. (Photo: Getty Images)
Owned in three percent of Yahoo leagues, Ruutu has shown instant chemistry alongside Jagr and Travis Zajac with one goal, three assists, a plus-3 rating and nine shots on goal in his first three games with New Jersey. Considering the Devils are vying for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, the timing of this development could not have been more ideal.
At 42, Jagr continues to defy the odds by producing points at a comparable rate to some of the League's most valuable fantasy forwards. He has 16 multi-point games (tied for 15th in the NHL), a plus-19 rating, and is on pace for 70-plus points and 200-plus shots on goal.
Jagr's numbers bode well for Ruutu's value the rest of the way. After dealing with injuries in 2012-13 and bouncing around Carolina's lineup this season, Ruutu has benefited from playing alongside one of the seven players in NHL history with 700 career goals.
The Devils (16-8-7 at home) close out the season with 10 of their final 16 games at Prudential Center. Jagr has been a must-start player in road games. His 33 road points are tied with Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf for eighth in the League. In five of its six remaining games away from home, New Jersey faces teams that are not currently in playoff position.
That means the Ruutu-Zajac-Jagr line has a chance to fuel a playoff push for the Devils.
Ruutu's totals of 16 points and a minus-19 rating in 57 games are in his rearview mirror. Though he hasn't seen much power-play time with the Devils, he brings dual eligibility (C/LW) to the table in Yahoo leagues. That flexibility, in addition to his promising role at even strength, is enough to warrant consideration in deep formats.