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?
OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.
The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.
Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.
The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.
Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.