Tuukka Rask is back where he belongs.
The Boston Bruins did the inevitable on Tuesday, bringing back one of the best goaltenders in franchise history, Tuukka Rask, on a one-year deal worth $1 million. The signing was first reported by PuckPedia.
It’s a move that had been foreshadowed for quite some time, really.
Rask, who has spent his entire 14-year NHL career with the Bruins after coming to Boston via trade in 2006, began skating at the team’s practice facility earlier this season despite not having a contract, hinting at the possibility of a return in the near future.
He took another meaningful step toward wearing black-and-goal again late last week, when Rask signed a PTO with the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence, with the expectation being that the 34-year-old would start a few games of the team’s upcoming weekend series versus the Lehigh Valley Phantoms to regain his sea legs after six months of rest.
Alas, those plans were not meant to be, as the AHL Bruins’ road trip was quickly canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Phantoms’ roster.
So, on Tuesday morning, the Providence Bruins released Rask from his PTO, clearing the path for the veteran to sign back with the only team he’s ever really known.
Rask was still an effective goalie last season despite his increased age.
In 24 appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2021 campaign, Rask racked up a 15-5-2 record with a .913 save percentage and two shutouts. It’s hard to imagine any team turning their nose up at those numbers, especially the Bruins, who are so familiar with Rask, to begin with.
With Rask now back in the fold, it will be interesting to see what the Bruins do with their goaltending rotation for the remainder of the year. The team is currently on a seven-game winning streak, with both Linus Ullmark and Jeremy Swayman leading the way.
Swayman, in particular, is waivers exempt, and can be sent to the taxi squad without being exposed to the entire league. That’s the likely outcome of this situation once Rask gets back up to speed, despite Swayman performing quite well this season with a .918 save percentage in 16 games.
Alas, these are all good problems to have if you’re a Bruins fan. You can never have too much quality goaltending. And in a year when COVID-19 can strike at any moment, that sentiment has never been more true.