As 2022 nears, questions regarding Tuukka Rask’s potential return to the Bruins will become more frequent.
Boston’s goalie tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark has been fine this season, but nothing spectacular, and the return of Rask could be what the Bruins need in order to find some sort of groove and string together quality wins.
“We’ve got a long way to go and neither one of them has played in the playoffs to my recollection,” Bruins general manager Don Sweeney told reporters after Tuesday’s morning skate. “We’ve got a lot of ground to cover. They’ve been OK. We’ve got some growing pains associated with that position. Both of them have had really strong pockets of games and other times when they haven’t played as well as they would have liked in situations.”
Rask, an unrestricted free agent, underwent offseason hip surgery to repair a torn labrum, and a return to the Black and Gold long has been speculated — even more so now that he has been seen working out at Warrior Ice Arena, ramping up his workouts to five days a week and reaffirming his desire to play with the Bruins.
Sweeney has said the door is open for Rask to return if he wants, and on Tuesday he provided a ringing endorsement for a reunion.
“We have not hidden from the fact that if he’s healthy and wants to play, he is likely to be a part of our group,” Sweeney said. “There’s a general understanding that Tuukka has to make a decision on his health first and foremost, and then when he’s officially made that decision, then we’ll find the common ground.”
Sweeney did note there have been no contract talks with Rask.
If Rask is 100% healthy and ready to go, he’d certainly provide a boost to the Bruins. It then would become a question of what to do with the tandem of Swayman and Ullmark.
But that’s a bridge that will be crossed if and when Boston gets to it.