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Bruins Notes: Rask, Clifton, Bychkov

prohockeyrumors.com
 2021-09-04

Cover picture for the articleThe NHL is officially going to the Olympics. So what does that mean for the NHL’s top unsigned free agent? Tuukka Rask has made it clear that he will only play for the Boston Bruins (and his teammates expect just that later this season), but the star goalie has said nothing about the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. The Olympic break will take place from February 3-22 and Rask must sign with Boston by the trade deadline, expected to be March 21, in order to be eligible for the postseason. Will he use the Winter Games as a warmup? As noted by The Athletic staff in their Olympics roster projections, if Rask wants a spot on Team Finland, it is his. For one, the team not as deep as they have been in the past, with the goaltenders projected to be Nashville’s Juuse Saros, Carolina’s Antti Raanta, and Chicago’s Kevin Lankinen. More of a factor though is that Rask’s numbers on the international stage are nothing short of stunning, with a .938 save percentage and 1.73 GAA in the 2014 Olympics and a .920 save percentage and 2.02 GAA in the 2016 World Cup. Add in his elite career NHL numbers and even at 34 and returning from injury he would be at worst the No. 2 for Finland. There is obviously some risk to Rask and the Bruins that he could re-injure himself while playing in the Olympics. However, the upside is that it will get him back into game shape without costing Boston. Once Rask is signed, there won’t be much time for him to get back up to speed unless the team opts to carry three goalies for a while. It will be interesting to see how the situation plays out and if the aging veteran is as determined to represent his country once more as he is to return to Boston for another run.

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