It’s almost time. Tuukka Rask time.
The former Boston Bruins goalie signed a professional tryout agreement (PTO) with the Providence Bruins, the first step in Rask’s return to the Boston Bruins.
Rask is expected to start tomorrow’s game for Providence against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, the AHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers.
The Finnish netminder has been rehabbing from surgery for a torn labrum. He did not sign a deal with anyone this offseason when he become a free agent.
Rask will start with Providence and then is expected to join Boston at some point this month
The front office hinted at a plan for Rask in December, which now looks like they are going by.
After Rask began to practice with the team as their emergency backup goaltender, it became pretty clear a return to the Bruins was inevitable. But it didn’t make sense for Rask, when he eventually did sign, to return to Boston right away.
Bruce Cassidy had said that Rask would play for Providence during what was then the three-game road trip in mid-January for Boston that was going to start this Saturday, Jan. 8. That has since turned into a two-game road trip with the Jan. 12 matchup with the Montreal Canadians changed to a home game at the TD Garden.
Nonetheless, with Rask playing in Providence on Friday, it looks like he’ll get at least two reps in with the AHL. Providence plays Lehigh Valley tomorrow and then once again on Sunday. The P-Bruins don’t play again until next Friday, where they kick off three consecutive games to close out that week. The one-time Vezina winner hasn’t played in the AHL since the 2008-09 season.
This is just the next step in the process of getting an NHL contract. It’s undetermined what it will be, but he stated this summer it isn’t about the money for him, so a cheaper deal is likely what will be put in place.
The real question is how many years. The word “retirement” has been thrown out there when it comes to Rask for a number of years now. So it wouldn’t be shocking to see him sign a one-year deal and then hung up the skates.
We will all know in due time. What we do know is Tuukka is back, whether the haters like it or not.