Tuukka Rask

Report: Boston signs Rask to one-year, $3.5 million deal


Next year is shaping up to be a “prove it” season for Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins have reportedly come to terms with their young goalie a one-year, $3.5 million deal, suggesting that — with Tim Thomas on sabbatical — it’s Rask’s time to prove he’s No. 1.

Note: CSNNE.com’s Joe Haggerty says the deal has been agreed to “in principle.” Rask can’t officially sign until July 1 because of Boston’s cap issues (see: Chris Kelly’s contract extension.)

Rask is a solid netminder and one of the better young goalies in the league, but his ability to handle a full workload is in question. Whereas Thomas could be banked on for 55-60 starts per year, Rask has never appeared in more than 45 games in a single season.

Add in Rask’s injury woes and RFA status (he’ll be restricted again after this deal expires), and it’s easy to see why Boston took the cautious approach.

The big question now is what’s next for Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli.

The club has over $9 million locked into goaltending and is perilously close to the $70.2 million cap ceiling. Moving Thomas’ contract seems necessary at this point, and Chiarelli could be aided on that front.

As the Sporting News’ Jesse Spector points out, seven teams finished last year under the $54.2 million cap floor: Nashville, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Carolina, Dallas, Colorado and the New York Islanders.

Will any of them pick up Thomas’ contract, potentially freeing up Boston to add a piece via trade or free agency?

After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.

Greene named 11th captain in Devils history

Dion Phaneuf; Andy Greene
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Andy Greene has been named Bryce Salvador’s successor as New Jersey’s team captain.

Greene, an undrafted free agent that’s spent his entire nine-year career with the Devils organization, becomes the 11th captain in the franchise’s history and third American to wear the “C” (Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner were the others).

A former standout at Miami of Ohio, Greene — who served as an alternate captain in each of the last two seasons — has developed into a steady, durable blueliner that hasn’t missed a game in three years. He’s also locked into the Devils long term, having signed a five-year, $25 million extension with the club last summer.

That deal kicks in this season, and runs through 2020.

As for the rest of the leadership group, four players will serve as alternate captains this season: Patrik Elias, Travis Zajac, Mike Cammalleri, and Adam Henrique.

Elias and Zajac both wore an “A” in New Jersey last year, while Cammalleri and Henrique are first-timers.