"We have now made re-signing Tuomo a priority," Rutherford said. "If we're not able to agree, both sides need to have some leeway and some options. We need to make a decision and he needs to make a decision."
Rutherford has held trade talks with other clubs about Ruutu, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, but will look to come to an agreement with the 28-year-old who has expressed a desire to stay in Carolina.
If the two sides can't agree on a new deal, odds are Ruutu will be dealt before the Feb. 27 trade deadline.
In 55 games with the Canes this season, Ruutu has collected 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points.
More Trade Deadline Info
List of Trades
| No-Trade/No-Movement Clauses
| Top 25 Available Players
| Team-by-Team Cap Info