BOSTON (CBS) — If the Bruins are thinking of trading goaltender Tuukka Rask, Boston GM Don Sweeney is doing his best to keep it a secret. On Monday, Sweeney said that Rask remains “a big part” of the Bruins roster going forward.
Many fans have been screaming for a Rask trade after the goaltender opted out of the Bruins playoff run due to a family situation, even though the Boston brass and Rask’s teammates backed him after he left the NHL bubble in Toronto. Reports of a potential Rask trade popped up last week when TSN’s Frank Seravalli reported that the Bruins had “initiated conversations” with other teams to gauge a potential trade market for the netminder.READ MORE: Tatum, Brown shoulder blame for Celtics' third quarter collapse in Game 1
But Sweeney downplayed those rumors during a Zoom session with reporters on Monday when asked if anything had changed regarding the goaltender’s status with the team.
“No. As a matter of fact, our staff has communicated with Tuukka, and as I’ve said before, he remains a big part of our roster planning going forward,” Sweeney said Monday. “We’re very, very comfortable with where our goaltending is at. I think you’re going to need it. I don’t know what the schedule and what the season… I think there’s a lot of things that are up in the air. It could be a challenging environment from a season standpoint and that might make goaltending even more a big part of what you have to have going forward.”READ MORE: Dreadful third quarter dooms Celtics as Butler leads Heat to 118-107 victory in Game 1
Rask, 33, is entering the final season of the eight-year, $56 million contract he signed with Boston in 2013. He has a no-trade clause that currently allows him to pick 15 teams that he would accept a trade to, but that reportedly expires on Friday.
That would open the door for Sweeney to trade the 2020 Vezina runner-up to any team, but Sweeney would not confirm if that no-trade clause expires this week.
“I don’t think it’s my responsibility to confirm what’s in a player’s contract,” Sweeney said Monday. “Player movement, player talks — I hope everybody respects the privacy of each and every one of those conversations.”MORE NEWS: Natick elementary school custodian saves student choking in cafeteria
Rask was 26-8-6 with a .929 save percentage and an NHL-best 2.12 GAA during the 2019-20 regular season. He played in just four playoff games, for Boston and went 1-3 with a .904 save percentage and 2.57 GAA before leaving the team to tend to his family matter. Rask is the Bruins’ all-time franchise leader in wins (291) and save percentage (.922).