The team also placed defenseman Joe Corvo on injured reserve retroactive to March 16 as part of a series of moves announced Thursday before its game against New Jersey.
Ruutu will make his season debut after sitting out since having hip surgery in December. The physical forward had 18 goals and 16 assists last season.
The Hurricanes waived Boychuk in January for the purpose of sending him to their AHL affiliate in Charlotte, but he was claimed by Pittsburgh.
Carolina took Boychuk in the first round in 2008.