In his first public comments since leaving the Toronto playoff bubble on Aug. 15, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask on Thursday reiterated his desire to play out the rest of his career in Boston.
Rask, speaking to the Boston Herald before a charity golf tournament in Middleton, said he does not want to play for any club but the Bruins.
“I think where my head’s at is focusing on next year and then hopefully a couple of more years after that, and then pass the torch for the next guy after that,” Rask told the Herald at the Shawn Thornton Foundation Putts and Punches tournament. “I want to help the organization as much as I can.”
Rask opted out of the postseason before Game 3 of the Bruins’ first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes. Team president Cam Neely explained the goaltender had a medical emergency with one of his three daughters. Rask confirmed that Thursday, saying he was left with no choice but to go home after his wife, Jasmiina, called him to alert him of the situation involving their daughter.
“What bothered me a little bit was people thinking that I just left because I didn’t like it there,” Rask said. “If I didn’t have a reason to leave, I wouldn’t have left, obviously.”
Rask has been rumored to be among the trade chips in a busy offseason for Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. The no-trade protection built into the eight-year, $56 million contract the goaltender signed in 2013 expires at noon Friday, when the NHL calendar flips from 2019-20 to 2020-21 and the free agent market opens for business. Rask has one year remaining on his deal. While he is an elite player, Rask’s worth on the trade market would not likely match on-ice value, given his age (33), salary, and glut of goalies available to sign beginning Friday.
Sweeney said Monday that Rask “remains a big part of our roster planning going forward” and the team was “very, very comfortable” with what they had in net.
That includes Rask, who finished second in the Vezina Trophy voting this past season, and Jaroslav Halak, who backstopped the Bruins to a five-game series win over the Hurricanes, and a five-game, second-round loss to the Lightning.