Longtime Boston Bruins goalie and unrestricted free agent goalie Tuukka Rask seems destined to return to the only team he’s ever played for but there’s a good chance that if and when Rask re-signs with the Bruins, he’ll begin that return to the NHL with a quick stint in the AHL with the Providence Bruins.
Rask continues to practice with his former teammates at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, MA, and more and more it seems to be a matter of when will the Bruins re-sign the winningest goalie in franchise history and not will they? The Boston Bruins and Rask have made it very clear that they’re interested in a reunion. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney has already twice acknowledged that there have been preliminary discussions about a new contract and following practice Tuesday, head coach Bruce Cassidy did the same.
“There’s been preliminary discussions. The what-if game is tough, but he’s here. So we all know there’s an interest on both sides,” Cassidy told the media in a Zoom call. “What develops down the road, how he fits into our cap, those are all questions for [Sweeney]. But the plan would be to practice with us and then at some point, yes, Providence would be an option. Practicing and maybe some games down there”
Rask would have to agree to go down to Providence on a conditioning stint but it’s likely that wouldn’t be an issue since he hasn’t seen game action since June 9, when the Boston Bruins were eliminated by the New York Islanders in the second round of the 2021 Stanley Cup playoffs.
“I think that’s something Tuukka would have to agree to,” Cassidy pointed out. “I assume he’d have to have a say in that and be comfortable with that, so those are questions for him. What does he need? Live-action is certainly going to be one of them at some level. Like a lot of guys that missed time, it’s probably better suited down there if he can do it. I would guess, yes, that would be part of the drill. I would suspect you’ll see a guy here for a couple of weeks practicing. Like I said when we go on the road, my guess is that he’ll probably go to Providence that week because we just don’t have a lot of work to give him.”
Cassidy once again suggested a return could take place when the Bruins return from a three-game road trip January 8-12. That would mean that he would likely make his season debut against either the Philadelphia Flyers on Jan. 13 or the Nashville Predators in a 1 PM matinee on Jan. 15.
Rask finished last season with a 15-5-2 record, a 2.28 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Rask was 6-4-0 in the playoffs with a 2.36 GAA and a .919 save percentage. He owns a franchise-best 306 wins in 560 games since entering the NHL in 2007-08.