When it rains, it pours. Not only is the season over for the Boston Bruins, but a likely looking free agency is set to take place. Boston Bruins star Tuukka Rask has injured himself, tearing a labrum in his hip that will need surgery. The injury looks set to keep the 34-year-old out until at least January 2022. This will leave Boston needing to find a solution – especially with looming unrestricted free agency.
His eight-year, $56m contract will come to an end at the summer of 2021, and the Bruins player has said that he currently wants to return to Boston to continue his growing legacy. However, despite saying he has no interest in the free agency market, saying he’s “not going to play for anyone else than the Bruins”, he did also state that he has no idea about how long his impressive career is going to have left.
At 34 and with a serious injury, there will always be questions about longevity and durability. In a physically intense sport like hockey, too, it is important that players can find the right balance to look after themselves. When speaking about his future, Rask said: “This is our home. We have three kids. The kids enjoy it here. They have friends in school. We have friends. At this point in my life and career, I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else.”
In a 14-season career in Boston, Rask has become a crucial part of their team since he arrived from the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2006. Since then, he has become an impressive performer for the team, playing well over 500 games, winning 306 of them. With an impressive .921 save percentage, too, the keeper has been a crucial part of their recent history.
Will the Boston Bruins replace Tuukka Rask in the summer?
However, despite the severity of his injury, it is not expected that the Bruins will look to move on from the Rask era. He has become a crucial part of the team, starting 24 games this season with a .913 save average. Though quite down from his usual stats, Rask has become a veteran presence within the dressing room who is believed to be seen as an essential part of their future.
Speaking about the injury, Rask said: “It was hard because I had it all year. So we got to manage my workload really well during the season, so you don’t have to play a lot of games in a row. And then obviously in the playoffs you play every other night, so it’s harder.
“But it never got to a point where I couldn’t play. The reason why I missed time during the season was because I was compensating that hip injury with my other muscles and then my back seized up and I could barely walk for a week over there. That’s why I missed the time. The hip itself was never the issue.”
For now, the player and his team simply need to focus on recovery and getting him back on the ice, trying to go one step further next year as the Bruins chase the Stanley Cup.