By Sam Minton | Follow me on Twitter @sam_minton22
The Boston Bruins have two impressive goaltenders, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t anxiously waiting for the return of a familiar face. It looks like Tuukka Rask will start 2022 by making a return to the TD Garden ice.
As the Bruins returned to the ice to practice on Sunday after dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak that put the NHL season on pause, Bruce Cassidy spoke to the media and gave fans some good news. Rask is less than a month away from being healthy enough to play in a game.
While great news for the goaltender, this does throw a wrench in Boston’s crease. Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have found their form in recent games. Swayman boasts a 2.29 goals-against average (GAA) with a .917 save percentage, while Ullmark has tallied a 2.52 GAA and a .922 save percentage.
If Rask is to return to Boston, this means that Swayman could be sent back to the AHL while Ullmark and Rask battle for supremacy in the Bruins crease. While some will argue that Swayman has earned the right to stay in the NHL, there is no doubt that Rask is still a top goaltender, and with the amount of money that Ullmark is making, he won’t likely be in Providence, leaving Swayman as the only option.
Rask is arguably the best goaltender in Bruins history. He holds the franchise record for wins with a 306-163-66 record. The veteran goaltender also boasts a career 2.27 GAA and .921 save percentage. With how much the Bruins are paying Ullmark, they won’t have much money to spend on Rask. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for the 34-year-old.
“I have been so lucky to be part of only one team in the NHL,” Rask said in August. “For me, it’s about that pride of playing for one team and one team only. I have no reason to chase the money anymore and go somewhere else. It’s going to be one of those things where the Bruins are my home, Boston is my home. I’ve always wanted to play here, wanted to stay here, so the money won’t be an issue. We had a conversation with [general manager Don Sweeney] and I will be a cheap goalie for them.”Tuukka Rask – Boston Bruins
With Rask continuing to practice with the Bruins, it seems like some sort of deal is in place. As the saying goes, when there is smoke, there is fire; it looks like Rask has no plans of leaving Boston. So the most polarizing figure in Boston sports is almost ready to make a return. While some might be upset about his return, Bruins fans should be excited to have a goaltender of his caliber back in the crease. Even with doubts about his future, he was still ranked a top 10 goaltender in the entire league heading into the season.
The B’s definitely could use his help as they are 9th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 14-10-2. Maybe with Rask in net, Boston can return to their regular position as one of the best teams in their conference.