The Boston Bruins are officially bringing back one of the most successful goaltenders in franchise history, agreeing with Tuukka Rask on a new one-year contract for the rest of this season. According to PuckPedia and Stephen Whyno of the Associated Press the deal carries a cap hit of $1MM, but Rask will actually only earn $545K due to it coming this far through the season. CapFriendly adds that the contract also contains a no-move clause.
Now 34, Rask is coming off major hip surgery to repair a torn labrum and has been practicing with the Bruins for weeks. He also had recently signed a professional tryout contract with the Providence Bruins to try and get into game shape, but after the AHL squad saw several games postponed due to COVID, the agreement was terminated before Rask played. Instead, his return will come at the NHL level, potentially as soon as this week. The Bruins face the Montreal Canadiens tomorrow night and the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday.
With 560 games of NHL experience, Rask brings a history with the Bruins that can’t be overlooked, even if the team was already getting solid goaltending from its current options. Offseason signing Linus Ullmark and young netminder Jeremy Swayman have combined for a .917 save percentage through 32 games this season. Swayman, who is still waiver-exempt, will likely spend some time in the minor leagues now that Rask is signed, though the team could also rotate three goaltenders over the second half of the season.
It’s completely unclear what kind of load Rask can handle at this point, but his promise of being a “cheap goalie” for the Bruins has come true. He’ll cost barely more than Swayman’s $925K and should not materially change Boston’s deadline cap space.
The 2020 Jennings winner and Vezina runner-up, Rask played in just 24 games last season and posted a .913 save percentage. He currently sits 33rd all-time in wins with 306, and fifth all-time in save percentage among goaltenders with at least 100 starts.
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