WILMINGTON, Mass. -- Goalie Tuukka Rask is set to become a restricted free agent at the end of the season unless the Boston Bruins lock him into a long-term deal before then. Currently, there’s nothing to report.
“I don’t know, probably not,” Rask said after the team’s practice Wednesday morning at Ristuccia Arena. “I haven’t heard anything too crazy, yet, but we’ll see. Good thing I don’t have to talk to the GM, I’ve got an agent for that.”
Rask, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Bruins last June, and general manager Peter Chiarelli has said the organization would like to extend Rask’s contract and that remains the most likely scenario. Rask, who is in line for a raise on the $3.5 million he will make this season, said he is not focused on his future.
“No, not really,” he said. “You have to stay hungry no matter what. If you have a big contract, you still have to play. If you don’t, you still have to play. I just try not to think about it too much.”
If he is not signed before July, Rask will able to field offers from other teams. The Bruins, of course, would have the right to match any offer sheet he gets under the NHL’s restricted free agency rules.
With Tim Thomas taking the year off, Rask has been outstanding this season as the true No. 1 goalie in Boston. He’s 10-1-2 (best record in the NHL) with a 1.89 goals-against average (fourth) and a .930 save percentage (tied for fourth).
“We’re happy with what Tuukka’s done,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “That seemed to be a question mark in a lot of people’s minds and hopefully he’s answered those critics.”
Rask played in 13 of the team’s 16 games this season and he’s comfortable with the workload.
“If you prepare yourself mentally the right way it’s not going to matter,” he said. “Obviously, if you’re playing good you want to play every night and keep playing good.”
Goaltending partner Anton Khudobin is 2-1-0 in his three starts and he’ll likely get the nod at some point in the next three games, especially with back-to-back games this weekend.
“I’m sure there’s going to be a lot of rest for me, too,” Rask said. “There’s a lot of back-to-backs coming up, so I think it’s important for both of us to stay sharp.”