Even if he’s Leaving too Soon, Tuukka Rask is a Hall of Famer


We should have seen this news coming last summer. The Boston Bruins obviously did.

Was an impending hip surgery about to end Tuukka Rask’s career? Not necessarily. Supposedly, he’d be ready by winter 2022 and get every opportunity to resume his role as the franchise’s longtime No. 1 netminder. But the four-year, $20-million contract Boston handed to Linus Ullmark on Day 1 of 2021 unrestricted free agency suggested a lack of confidence in Rask’s ability to recover. The Bruins were set to roll with a crease tandem of Ullmark and promising youngster Jeremy Swayman, and the experiment worked fine in roughly half a season. The two have combined for a .913 save percentage, a particularly respectable number in 2021-22, with league-wide goals per game at their highest mark since 2005-06 and save percentage at .909, the NHL’s second-lowest rate in the past 13 seasons.

Since the rookie Swayman was waiver exempt, the Bruins still had the luxury of giving Rask the net back on a one-year deal once he recovered from the surgery, but the Ullmark safety net was there for a reason. Rask made it through just four starts, posting an .844 save percentage, and emerged from the all-star break unable to play or practice. He sustained some kind of setback relating to his hip and, on Tuesday night, The Athletic’s Fluto Shinzawa reported that “The Bruins are not expecting Tuukka Rask to continue his comeback, according to two sources familiar with the situation,” and that “He may finalize his retirement decision in the next few days.”

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