Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli stepped out of character Thursday, and in the process, revealed that the B’s are trying to keep one of their franchise cornerstones in town for a while.
The GM spoke with the media on a conference call after trading Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders, and he got into what sort of role the play of Tuukka Rask had on the deal.
Rask, the Bruins’ No. 1 goalie in the absence of Thomas, has stepped up his game and performed incredibly. Chiarelli was asked whether or not there would be talks with Rask, a restricted free agent following the season, about a contract extension.
“Nothing’s imminent, I can leave it at that,” he started. “This has been kind of in the works for a while and it’s just coincidental that Tuukka had a terrific game last night.
“I guess,” he relented, “Breaching my own policy, we will bring up talks with Tuukka at some point in this season, in hoping to extend him.”
Rask will once again be a restricted free agent this season after signing a one-year, $3.5 million deal prior to the lockout.
Chiarelli also said that Rask’s play of late did not necessarily accelerate the time frame in which the Thomas trade got done.
“I would call them in seperate spheres,” he explained during the conference call. “I know the perception looks like one follows the other and I was waiting to pull the trigger based on a great game by Tuukka. We’ve been pretty open with Tukkka and Tim as far as when we would see them ending up, I call it a succession plan.
“We haven’t strayed from that. That game [Wednesday] from Tuukka was a divisional game, an improving team that we’re going to see a lot of and he held the fort in the first period. That gave me a good feeling, but we always had a succession plan and we were going to carry through with it.”
The new No. 1 has been just about automatic for the Bruins this season, going 6-1-1 through his first eight starts. He has a 1.97 goals against average, a .922 save percentage and a shutout to go along with that record.