The Boston Bruins have signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $1 million contract, the team announced Tuesday. The contract will be pro-rated to pay Rask for the remainder of the season, meaning he’ll actually early just over half of that at $545,000. This deal comes just hours after Rask was officially released from his Professional Tryout (PTO) with the Providence Bruins.
The 34-year-old had offseason surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip. This injury would ultimately limit his mobility in the crease.
Though Rask was originally signed to a PTO to complete his rehab and get back into game shape before eventually signing an NHL contract, he never actually got the chance to play any games in the AHL. With this past weekend’s Providence games against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms getting postponed, head coach Bruce Cassidy made it known that this was a possibility.
This isn’t the end of the world for the Bruins or Rask either as the veteran netminder said that he would likely only need one or two games under his belt before he felt ready to return to the NHL. He may not have gotten those games, but in professional sports, nothing is more true than plans changing on the fly.
It’s unclear how big of a role Rask will take on with the Bruins in the early stages of his return, but this could also bode well for the Bruins who are set to go through a stretch of 10 games in 19 nights from Jan. 12 through Jan. 30. While the team opted to send Jeremy Swayman to the Providence Bruins due to the signing of Rask, he’s still a capable body who can be called up if need be. Otherwise, though, the Bruins appear ready to roll with Rask and Linus Ullmark for the time being.
Even if Swayman is set to play in Providence for the time being, his long-term future with the Bruins shouldn’t be in question. He is still their goalie of the future and those plans haven’t changed despite this signing creating a bit of a barrier on his NHL playtime in the near future.
Rask is Among the Bruins’ Best Goalies in Franchise History
Rask returns to the Bruins after going 15-5-2 last season with a 2.28 goals-against average and .913 save percentage. He had an excellent 2019-20 season as well, going 26-8-6 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .929 save percentage, winning the William M. Jennings Trophy alongside Jaroslav Halak. He’s been among the best goalies in the NHL over the past few seasons and will look to pick up where he left off.
Rask is also the Bruins’ franchise leader in games played (560), wins (306) and is tied for first with Tim Thomas in save-percentage among goalies with over 50 games played (.921). Rather than looking elsewhere or trying to get paid more money or term, Rask signed for as team-friendly a contract as it gets in the NHL to try and finish off what he started in Boston alongside some of his long-time teammates.
If he can prove that he’s still playing at the same level he was prior to this injury, it would be surprising to see Rask finish as anything other than the team’s No. 1 option to close out the season.
Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for six years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.