Bruins’ Tuukka Rask working his way back signs PTO with AHL Providence

Tuukka Rask signed a professional tryout contract with Providence of the American Hockey League on Thursday, marking his first step toward a return to the NHL.

Rask, 34, is an unrestricted free-agent goaltender who is working his way back from surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip.

The former Vezina Trophy recipient has been informally practicing with the NHL’s Bruins. He is expected to start for the AHL club against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

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Rask working his way back

“I think everything else is on schedule,” Boston coach Bruce Cassidy said Tuesday. “Obviously it depends on when is he cleared for live action, it doesn’t matter if it’s the American League or the NHL, he needs to be cleared. So that’s the next hurdle for him is clearance to play.”

The Bruins host the Minnesota Wild on Thursday night before opening a two-game road trip. The team then returns home to face the Montreal Canadiens on Jan. 12.

Jeremy Swayman (8-5-2, 2.20 goals-against average, .920 save percentage) and Linus Ullmark (9-5-0, 2.58, .917) have split goaltending duties this season for Boston.

Rask played in just 24 of Boston’s 56 games last season, posting a 15-5-2 record with two shutouts, a .913 save percentage and a 2.28 goals-against average.

He started all 11 playoff games for the Bruins, whose season ended in the second round with a loss to the New York Islanders in Game 6 of the series.

Rask is 306-163-66 with 52 shutouts, a 2.27 GAA and a .921 save percentage in 560 games (540 starts) with Boston since making his NHL debut in 2007.

tuukka rask bruins
May 10, 2021; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (40) in goal during the third period against the New York Islanders at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Rask only wants to play for Bruins

Rask, who spent his entire 14-season NHL career with the Bruins before having surgery in July for a torn labrum in his right hip, has been skating at the Bruins’ practice facility, but it isn’t clear when he will be ready to play again or which team he might wind up with.

In August, Rask said he might be ready to return in late December, and that he would be a “cheap goalie” for the Bruins should they decide to sign him.

“I have been so lucky to be part of only one team in the NHL,” Rask said. “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 [Bruins general manager Don Sweeney], and I will be a cheap goalie for them.”

–Field Level Media