Tuukka Rask officially rejoined the Boston Bruins, looking to finish what he started alongside veteran teammates on the team he’s played his entire career with.
The goaltender stuck to his plan of getting offseason hip surgery and rehabbing himself back to this point, signing a team-friendly contract Tuesday. Rask’s one-year, $1 million deal is prorated for the rest of the season, making Don Sweeney’s life a little easier.
“I think we had an understanding as he was going through the process that if he was healthy then I think he was going to try and play,” the Bruins general manager said via Zoom on Tuesday. “And credit goes to Tuukka and (agent) Markus Lehto for committing to the outline of what what we felt we had to have happen, you know, salary-wise with the contract. And Tuukka was committed to that, just wanting to be part of a group that he’s spent his entire career with.”
Rask has been practicing with the team at Warrior Ice Arena since early December, and though the goalie wasn’t able to play in a ramp-up game with the Providence Bruins as originally planned, Sweeney and the Bruins feel he’s ready to back up Linus Ullmark on Wednesday.
“As an organization it was always about his health — first and foremost, his commitment to wanting to play and watching him go to the rehab and all the stages and steps barring the opportunity to play in Providence,” Sweeney said.
“So we got to the point where he’s ready to go. He’s playing an awful lot of hockey. He’s got a lot of games in the bank to go back on and realize the conditioning and the timing and things will have to be built in as we go. But he’s ready to go from a health standpoint and committed to our team. So credit goes to them and obviously the organization for providing the opportunity for him to continue his career.”
Rask was drafted by the Bruins in the 2005 NHL Draft with the 21st overall pick, the only goaltender in Boston history to amass 500 career games in the NHL, leading the franchise in wins, save percentage, playoff games and playoff wins.
He’ll look to add to his accolades through at least the rest of this season, starting Wednesday, as he dresses for their tilt against the Montreal Canadiens