Tuukka Rask

Chiarelli on Rask’s one-year extension: “We tried to go longer in term”


More than a few eyebrows were raised across the NHL when the Boston Bruins agreed to a one-year, $3.5 million contract extension with RFA goalie Tuukka Rask in late June.

With Tim Thomas on sabbatical and Anton Khudobin as the only other NHL-tested goalie in the organization, many figured Boston would try to get a long-term deal done with the 25-year-old Rask.

Turns out that’s exactly what Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli wanted to do.

From Kevin Paul Dupont of the Boston Globe:

“A compromise,’’ Chiarelli characterized the one-year pact for Rask, who is projected as this season’s No. 1. “We tried to go longer in term, but . . . ’’

But Rask, represented by Chicago-based Bill Zito, clearly wanted a better payoff than, say, the three-year, $12 million that Cory Schneider inked in Vancouver. The guess here was that Rask would come in around a $4.3 million average over three years, with payouts of $3.3 million, $4.3 million, and $5.3 million. Now, with $3.5 million his base, both sides must wait until Jan. 1, 2013, if they want to add any term to the deal.

Rask, no doubt, will take out a substantial insurance policy prior to training camp. Only 25, he’ll want to protect against the loss of years of future earnings if he were to be injured on a deal that pays him from October into April.

Rask and the Bruins were in a bit of a conundrum, timing-wise. Nobody’s denying Rask’s talent or ability, but he’s yet to appear in more than 45 games in a single season and had injury issues. There’s no telling how he’ll handle the rigors of a 60-65 game workload.

That said, he didn’t want to get locked into a longer-term deal at this stage of the game. There’s a possibility of a big payday for Rask if he thrives as Boston’s No. 1 in 2012-13, considering there are currently 15 goalies in the NHL earning at least $4 million annually.

Derek Roy signs in Swiss league

Derek Roy, Jeremy Smith, Chris Kelly
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Derek Roy has finally found work — but it’s not in the NHL.

Roy, who spent the entire preseason in Washington’s camp on a PTO, has signed with SC Bern of Switzerland’s National League A, the club announced on Friday.

The news comes after Roy narrowly missed out on making the Caps roster, and just one year after he had something of a bounce-back campaign in Edmonton, scoring 22 points in 46 games while developing chemistry with young winger Nail Yakupov.

A 12-year NHL veteran, Roy is one of the more prominent names to be squeezed out of work this season, and head overseas. The 31-year-old has scored over 500 points in 738 career contests, and has twice represented Canada at the World Hockey Championships.

With Bern, Roy will play on one of Switzerland’s stronger teams, alongside a trio of ex-NHLers: Chuck Kobasew, Andrew Ebbett and Cory Conacher.

Lehner’s injury ‘doesn’t look like it’s short term’

Robin Lehner
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Robin Lehner might not be back anytime soon.

Making his debut with the Buffalo Sabres, the 24-year-old goaltender couldn’t complete Thursday’s game against his former squad, the Ottawa Senators, due to what has now been revealed to be a right leg injury.

When he left the arena, he was wearing a walking boot on that nearly went up to his knee.

“It doesn’t look like it’s short term,” Sabres coach Dan Bylsma told the Buffalo News. “It’s more than day-to-day at this point, but we need to evaluate further.”

It’s a rocky start to what’s an important campaign for Lehner. He has been given an opportunity to demonstrate that he’s ready to be a starting goaltender after being acquired by the Sabres over the summer, but it looks like that will have to be postponed.

While he’s sidelined, Chad Johnson is likely to be leaned on heavily.