While the hockey world awaits a return to normalcy, it seems clear to all that even when the league does return from its hiatus, it won’t be until next season at the earliest that we see a normal NHL campaign.
As it turns out, that 2020-21 season could also be the last bit of normalcy at TD Garden for quite some time, as there’s a chance it could be the final NHL campaign for veteran Boston Bruins netminder Tuukka Rask.
The 33-year-old, speaking to Matt Porter of The Boston Globe last month, said retirement after 2020-21 remains on the table.
“I have one year left in the contract, so we’ll see if I even play,” he told Porter. Asked if that was a “real possibility,” Rask replied: “We’ll see. Always a possibility.”
The Savonlinna, Finland native is in the midst of the second-last season of the eight-year, $56-million deal he signed with Boston in 2013, carrying a $7-million annual cap hit.
He won the Vezina Trophy in the first year of that contract, and led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Final last year, where they lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games.
Asked if he’d return to Finland following the conclusion of his NHL career to continue his career where it began, Rask told Porter he’d prefer to simply move on to the next phase of his life.
“No. No, I wouldn’t,” he told Porter, adding the focus would be on “family time.”
“Just be home,” he continued. “The wear and tear of the travel with two, almost three kids now, makes you think. I love to do it. But it’s tough.”
Rask has logged a total of 536 games in the big leagues over his 13-year career, all with the Bruins, after Boston famously acquired him from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for netminder Andrew Raycroft.
He’s twice led the league in shutouts over the course of his career (2013, 2014), though his finest campaign arguably came as a rookie in 2009-10, wherein he led the league with a .931 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average.