Boston Bruins: Guess who was at practice on Monday?

BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins tends goal against the New York Islanders in Game One of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 29, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 5-2. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - MAY 29: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins tends goal against the New York Islanders in Game One of the Second Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at the TD Garden on May 29, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Bruins won 5-2. (Photo by Rich Gagnon/Getty Images) /
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There was a surprise participant at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday for the Boston Bruins.

Tuukka Rask was spotted on the ice before practice at the Bruins’ practice facility. The former Bruins’ goaltender is recovering from hip surgery that he had during the offseason. He is currently a free agent after not signing a contract this summer.

He did not skate with the team, but rather participated in some light drills and took some shots before the team’s practice.

With the surgery Rask received, it seemed like January or February would be the earliest Rask would return, so there is still a ways to go. But it’s still a promising sign to see Rask in a full uniform in early November.

Could this mean Rask is returning to the Bruins?

Let’s pump the brakes right now on that one. He still has at least another two months realistically in his rehab before a full recovery. And he’s not even under contract with Boston.

With that said, from the get-go, Rask has made it clear that if he were to return, it would only be to Boston. His eight-year, $56 million contract from 2013 ended this past spring, and given the surgery that was required, it didn’t make much sense for Boston to sign him then.

But with Rask essentially pushing away any other offer from another team, it would allow Boston to control all the leverage in negotiations. Not that Rask would really be that picky, he also said it wouldn’t take much for him to re-sign with Boston. GM Don Sweeney has said that the door is open for a Rask return, so there is mutual interest from both sides.

What it’s going to come down to is does Boston need him. And to start the season, the goaltending hasn’t been a huge issue.

Linus Ullmark has made five starts and currently has a 3-2-0 record with a 2.59 GAA and .918 SV%. Rookie Jeremy Swayman has started four games and sports a 2-2-0 record with a 2.28 GAA and .900 SV%. Not horrible, not outstanding. Certainly as of right now, does not scream “needs help.”

Ultimately, Rask can continue to skate at Warrior for the next two months, be 100% healthy and stay unsigned. He could also sign at the minimum to give the Bruins’ some goaltending relief.

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It’s too early now to determine, but it’s still a pretty good sign to see him on the ice with the spoked B on the front of his jersey.