In today’s NHL rumors rundown, there is some concern that goaltender Tuukka Rask won’t be able to make his NHL comeback after all. As the Bruins lose a goaltender, the Florida Panthers seem to be stockpiling them. The Ottawa Senators have a plan heading into this year’s trade deadline and the Vancouver Canucks have checked with NHL central registry to find out exactly what their options are with Jaroslav Halak’s bonus if the netminder is traded.
Rask Likely Ending Comeback With Bruins
According to multiple reports, Tuukka Rask attempted to make a comeback with the Boston Bruins this season, but he’s reportedly discussing his future with his family and the team doesn’t expect him to resume his career. Some reports note Rask may reportedly “finalize his retirement decision in the next few days.”
Rask last played on Jan. 24 against Anaheim and in the few games he’s played, did not play all that well. He’s reportedly had discomfort related to his hip surgery following the Anaheim game where he allowed five goals and he is currently on injured reserve.
Rask has played 15 seasons, all with the Bruins. He won the Vezina Trophy in 2013-14, he finished second in voting for the trophy two years ago.
As for where the Bruins go from here, Fluto Shinzawa of The Athletic writes:
Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman will compete for the net. For now, Ullmark has the slight edge. Ullmark was playing some of his best hockey prior to the break, Cassidy citing recovery and rebound control as two of his recent strengths. Swayman, who was assigned to Providence to make room for Rask, is now a full-time NHLer. This will be the tandem for the rest of the season and the foreseeable future.source – ‘Bruins don’t expect Tuukka Rask to continue comeback attempt: Sources’ – Fluto Shinzawa – The Athletic – 02/09/2022
Senators To Shape Next Season’s Roster at This Year’s Deadline
As per a report by Chris Stevenson of TSN, whatever the Ottawa Senators do with this year’s trade deadline could signal what next season’s team will look like. He reports that Sens’ GM Pierre Dorion said he’d like to have a roster that would be pretty close to what they start next season with by the end by the time March 21 comes and goes.
Dorion pointed to a potential lack of continuity as the reason the team has gotten off to slow starts in recent seasons. If the club go into the offseason having played together, they’ll have some chemistry right off the bat the following season.
Panthers Not Looking to Trade Spencer Knight
While there’s some chatter the Florida Panthers are looking to make a big trade prior to the NHL deadline, don’t expect goaltender Spencer Knight to be among the players the organization moves out to get what they need. Even though Florida recently signed undrafted Barrie Colts goaltender Mack Guzda, that doesn’t mean they’re finding Knight’s potential replacement.
According to Darren Dreger of TSN:
“There are some around the National Hockey League who wanted to connect Bill Zito and the Florida Panthers with on-going interest in Jakob Chychrun and the Arizona Coyotes and perhaps Florida would use one of these top, young goalies as part of the bait. It’s not about that unfortunately, it’s more about the Florida Panthers just stockpiling in a department, in an area they know is going to serve them well in the future.”
Eichel Still a Couple of Weeks Away from Return
According to Pierre LeBrun, that Jack Eichel was skating at practice without a contact jersey on doesn’t mean he’ll be back on the ice for the Vegas Golden Knights imminently. LeBrun did say Eichel could return in a couple of weeks, but this isn’t an “any day” situation.
LeBrun added, when he is ready to come back, “there is some cap ramifications as we know with Vegas needing to make room for Jack Eichel with a trade or two, so keep an eye on that.”
Matthews Good to Play for Maple Leafs
After taking a nasty knee to the head, Auston Matthews was back out on the ice today for the Toronto Maple Leafs. He said he was a bit shaken up but is good to play tomorrow.
Sheldon Keefe noted, “He came in today feeling pretty good so it’s a really good sign. Obviously, for his status in terms of practicing tomorrow, we’ll see how he comes in, but today was a very good day.” There was a belief fairly soon after the incident happened that it wasn’t going to be any sort of serious head injury.
Canucks Could Get Creative With Halak’s Contract
With Jaroslav Halak set to earn his games-played bonus the next time he takes the net for the Canucks, the team will have to make a decision about his $1.25 million performance bonus in his contract. That, along with a $250,000 performance bonus if he maintains a better-than .905 save percentage will count against next season’s cap.
That is unless the team trades Halak and convinces the acquiring team to pay the bonus or the Canucks clear enough salary-cap space this season to have Halak’s hit count this year. Thomas Drance of The Athletic writes that the Canucks looked into their options. He explains:
Make of this what you will, but the Canucks checked in with NHL central registry to make sure they had clarity on the mechanics of how Halak’s 35+ contract bonuses would work in the event the contract was traded.source – ‘Canucks to chart future in key meetings this week, Jaroslav Halak’s bonus and Jim Rutherford talks trade rumours’ – Thomas Drance – The Athletic – 02/07/2022
Jim Parsons is a senior THW freelance writer, part-time journalist and audio/video host who lives, eats, sleeps and breathes NHL news and rumors, while also writing features on the Edmonton Oilers. He’s been a trusted source for five-plus years at The Hockey Writers, but more than that, he’s on a mission to keep readers up to date with the latest NHL rumors and trade talk. Jim is a daily must for readers who want to be “in the know.”