Tuukka Rask finally addressed an interview he gave weeks ago where he mused about retiring at the end of his current contract following next season, and brought a little more clarity to the situation.
The 33-year-old Bruins goaltender was on the Greg Hill Show on WEEI on Tuesday morning and made it clear no decisions have been about his future beyond the 2020-21 season that he’s still signed for in Boston. Rask was on track for a Vezina Trophy-level season this year when things were put on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak and was leading the NHL with a 2.12 goals against average while ranking second in the league with a .929 save percentage.
So it’s clear that Rask has still got more than one or two good years left if he wanted to keep on playing in Boston beyond his current deal.
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“Listen, I remember the interview if you can even call it an interview. This [Boston Globe] reporter asked me some questions right after practice when I was packing my bag, and all I said was my contract’s up (in 2021) so every option is on the table,” said Rask. “I haven’t made any decisions on any direction yet, obviously we’re not even playing hockey right now, so that’ll be in the future. But it’s definitely not in my mind right now, just trying to take care of the family now and go back to hockey whenever that happens and then go from there.
“I’m sure we’re going to have good conversations with (Don Sweeney) after this season and go from there. But I’m only 34, so it’s not too old, might play another year or two and go from there. I don’t want to promise anything either way because you never know what’s going to happen.”
Given the high level that Rask is currently playing at, his current $7 million per season contract wouldn’t be an outrageous ask without knowing how the current coronavirus work stoppage is going to impact the overall salary cap picture.
Clearly nothing is set in stone and perhaps the retirement talk is as much about contract leverage the next time around as anything else. But it still puts the Bruins in a tough position following this season if they don’t have any certainty when it comes to the future with Rask. They could re-sign Jaroslav Halak to an extension following this season and continue to hope to ride things out with a great goaltending duo while shelling out nearly $10 million for both goalies.
But the Bruins may also need to quickly groom a new No. 1 goalie if Rask is a question mark for the long-term future in Boston. Halak certainly doesn’t feel that guy at this point in his NHL career while in his mid-30s as well.
That may push the Bruins to install Dan Vladar, Jeremy Swayman or Kyle Keyser as Rask’s backup for next season to evaluate exactly what they currently have inside the organization should things change drastically.
Obviously, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to Rask’s future in Boston. But even with his mild assurances that nothing is set in stone, the Bruins will have to be prepared that it’s not a lock the No. 1 goalie will remain with the Bruins beyond his current contract.