The 28-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, and Rutherford has been discussing his availability with interested clubs. However, Rutherford is likely to ask for a significant return, such as a draft pick and a solid prospect or a top prospect alone.
The Vancouver Canucks, Los Angeles Kings, Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild and New York Rangers are rumored to be interested in the veteran forward, but many wonder if they will be willing to pay such a high price.
It remains to be seen if Ruutu will even be available as Rutherford surprised many and signed defenseman Tim Gleason to a four-year contract extension at the end of January.
The Raleigh News & Observer reported that Rutherford was planning "an important meeting" with Ruutu during the club's three-game road trip this week.
"I want to talk to him about where he's at, this season and in the future," Rutherford said. "We'll talk about that and see where it goes. We're closing in on the (NHL) trade deadline, so we need to make a decision.
"I've had casual conversations with his agent the past month or so. The next step is to meet with (Ruutu) and make a decision on what direction would be the best for everyone."
Whether Ruutu stays or goes, the Canes do have two rental defensemen, Jaroslav Spacek and Bryan Allen, who are expected to be dealt before the deadline.
Ruutu will nevertheless remain the first order of business for the Hurricanes as they should decide soon enough if he is going to be a key player in the weeks leading to the trade deadline.
In 54 games this season, Ruutu has recorded 16 goals and 11 assists for 27 points.
More Trade Deadline Info
List of Trades
| No-Trade/No-Movement Clauses
| Top 25 Available Players
| Team-by-Team Cap Info