BOSTON (CBS) — Tuukka Rask is now officially back with the Bruins. Just not the Boston Bruins.

Not yet, at least. That will come soon enough. On Thursday, the veteran goaltender signed a professional tryout agreement with the Providence Bruins, as he inches closer to a return to the NHL.

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The 34-year-old Rask was set to start in net for Providence on Friday when Boston’s AHL affiliate hosted the Lehigh Valley Phantoms. But Friday and Sunday’s P-Bruins games were both postponed due to league COVID-19 protocols affecting Lehigh Valley, so Rask’s tune-ups will have to wait.

Providence’s next game is scheduled for Friday, Jan. 14 when the Hartford Wolfpack visit the Dunkin Donuts Center.

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Rask has been working out with Boston for the last few months, taking the ice at Warrior Ice Arena at numerous Bruins practices as he worked his way back from offseason hip surgery. He said after last season that he would only sign with the Bruins, and that will come shortly after he gets a tune-up with the P-Bruins.

Boston has split goaltending duties between Jeremy Swayman (15 starts) and Linus Ullmark (14 starts) this season. Swayman is 8-5-2 with a 2.21 GAA, while Ullmark is 9-5-0 with a 2.58 GAA. When Rask is ready, the 23-year-old Swayman will likely be sent down with the veteran Ullmark (who signed a hefty contract over the offseason that includes a no-trade clause this season and next) splitting time with Tuukka.

When he does join Boston, it will be Rask’s 15th season with the Bruins. He’ll look to add to his franchise record of 306 wins in net.

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In 24 games for Boston last season, Rask went 15-5-2 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.28 GAA.

CBSBoston.com Staff