BOSTON (CBS) – Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli is confident that he will be able to lock up goaltender Tuukka Rask prior to the beginning of NHL Free Agency on Friday.
Chiarelli said a deal should get done “in short order” on a pre-free agency conference call with the media on Wednesday, and the GM is already planning his salary cap around an assumed salary for Rask. That could mean the two sides already have the framework for a deal in place, and just need to iron out a few wrinkles.
The B’s GM thinks the deal could get done before free agency opens.
“I would think before, but if it’s after I’m fine with it, too,” said Chiarelli. “I know he would enter free agency, but I’m confident regardless.”
Rask is once again an unrestricted free agent, so if Boston does not sign him by Friday they run the risk of another team signing him to an offer sheet — which the Bruins could match or lose Rask in exchange for draft picks.
Chances are, the Bruins won’t let Rask walk away under any circumstances.
After a stellar postseason run that saw him go 14-8 with a 1.88 Goals Against Average and a .940 save percentage, it’s expected that Rask could become one of the highest paid goalies in the league. Rumors were that he was looking for a six-year, $39 million deal from Boston.
Chiarelli also said on the conference call that the Bruins have interest in keeping backup netminder Anton Khudobin, who is also a free agent. The GM noted that Khudobin — who went 9-4 with a 2.32 GAA backing up Rask in 2013 — said he would like to remain in Boston, but Chiarelli expects him to hit the free agent market when things get underway Friday afternoon.
“Anton has said he wants to stay here but I’m keeping a close eye on it and in constant contact, hoping he can come back,” said Chiarelli. “But my guess is he’ll go to market, but we can still sign him if he goes to market, it’s just a little riskier.”