Over the past week, there have been numerous reports stating that the Boston Bruins and goalie Tuukka Rask had reached a tentative agreement on a new one-year contract. While all signs point to that becoming a reality very soon, that is not the case just yet according to Rask’s agent Markus Lehto.
“No deal in place for Tuukka’ Lehto wrote in an email to Boston Hockey Now on Tuesday morning.
An NHL source close to the situation, however, did confirm a Tuesday morning report in The Athletic that the Bruins were hoping that Rask would sign a professional tryout with the Providence Bruins this week. As the report stated, the plan is for Rask to play in one or both of the games for the P-Bruins to see where his game is at, before signing a new deal with the Boston Bruins. As he did last week, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy confirmed that to be the plan as well on Tuesday morning.
“The immediate plan is he’s here; he’s going to practice with us this week,” Cassidy said. ‘He will not travel with us to Tampa or Washington. I think there will be a conversation then, with Donny [Sweeney] about Providence. I think it’s the best opportunity for him to get live-action. So they’ll have that discussion. I know it’s been thrown out there whether it happens or not. …between Tuukka and his reps and Donny, but that would be the timeline if he’s gonna go down there, given everything else is on schedule.
Obviously, it depends on when he is cleared for live-action. It doesn’t matter whether it’s the American League or the NHL, he needs to be cleared. So, that’s the next hurdle for him is clearance to play, but that would be the timeline that they’re all hoping for.”
Of course, Rask would have to agree to go down to Providence on a conditioning stint, and according to that same NHL source above, the winningest goalie in Boston Bruins history isn’t exactly thrilled about that plan but it’s likely since he hasn’t seen game action since June 9 of last year, he’ll do so.
“I think that’s something Tuukka would have to agree to,” Cassidy pointed out last Tuesday. “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.”
In that same media availability, Cassidy speculated that if all went well in Providence and Rask was ready to return to the NHL, he would likely be available for game action a week from Thursday when the Boston Bruins host the Philadelphia Flyers or at the latest, two days later, when the Bruins host the Nashville Predators.
Until a deal is in place though, all of that is up in the air.