Familiar Face Returns to Boston
Plus, Andy Miele cracks the U.S. Olympic team roster
Rask Returns to the Bruins
What’s Happening: To the surprise of no one in the hockey world, Tuukka Rask has officially re-signed with the Boston Bruins and will return to the club for the remainder of the 2021-2022 season. Earlier this week, Rask signed a pro-rated 1-year, $1 million deal to secure his return to the Bruins. This may be a steep discount from the $6.5 million he earned last year, but Rask has always maintained that money didn’t matter to him and that returning to the Bruins under any monetary circumstances was always what he wanted. How Rask performs however, will be another big question as Rask is coming off of major hip surgery.
His first outing went as planned: Rask won his first game back, making 25 saves (including two breakaways) in a 3-2 victory over the Flyers.
Why It Matters: The signing of Rask is huge for the Bruins as they continue to fight for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Securing Rask helps the Bruins in several key ways. Most notably, they’re getting an established number one goalie in Rask.
While the question of his play after major surgery remains, the Bruins are comfortable with Rask’s track record as a goalie. Secondly, this helps solidify the Bruins goaltending dilemma. Up to this point in the season, the Bruins have been platooning future franchise goalie, Jeremy Swayman, and recently signed free agent, Linus Ullmark, to mixed results.
While both goalies have performed adequately, neither has really grabbed the net and established themselves as the number one goalie in Boston. Lastly, this particular signing is huge for the Bruins because it helps them stay under the cap. Rask easily could have sought more money from other teams but chose to remain loyal to Boston by taking a team-friendly deal.
Odd Man Out: The only person that may not be happy with the Rask signing is Jeremy Swayman. After putting up impressive numbers with the Bruins this season — 2.26 GAA, .918 save percentage — Swayman was immediately demoted to AHL affiliate, Providence Bruins, upon news of the Rask signing.
This is a tough blow for Swayman, no doubt. The 23-year-old burst on to the Bruins scene last season and has shown the Bruins glimpses of what their next franchise goalie may look like. But with the return of Rask, Swayman will have to hone his craft down in the AHL where he was also marvelous with Providence last season.
The good news for Swayman in all this is that he’ll be the starter in Providence and will have the peace of mind of just focusing on being the starter every night. It wouldn’t have made sense for the Bruins to trade Ullmark and have Swayman sit on the bench backing up Rask, so as unfortunate as this may be for Swayman, this is probably the best path for his development.
Andy Miele named to Team USA
Former Hobey Baker Award winner Andy Miele was named to the United States Olympic Hockey Team Jan. 13. Check out the full roster here.
In 2019, Pregame Skate interviewed Andy about his journey from Miami University to the Arizona Coyotes to the KHL in Russia, where he plays for HC Torpedo. He also contributed to an article we wrote titled “The Most Important Skill in Hockey.”
Good luck in Beijing, Andy!
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