After Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff signed Ondrej Pavelec to a five-year, $19.5 million deal on Wednesday, widespread panic set in that Rask and his agent would be asking for similar money; a long-term deal at somewhere around $4 million. Luckily, that's not the case.
Tuukka Rask has three partial seasons of NHL starts under his belt at the age of 25, and that's pretty good. He's been backing up Tim Thomas, who doesn't need to be spelled much, and except for the season where Thomas was set back by a hip injury, Rask hasn't played over 30 games. (That season, including playoffs, he played 58.) What's more, in the minors, where he did play over that amount of games, he ran out of gas around game 70 - that's 57 regular season games, and 16 in the playoffs - and the P-Bruins were defeated by the Hershey Bears mostly due to Rask's lack of steam.
There's no question now, with Thomas sitting out the season, that Rask will be the starter - and this one-year deal will be the opportunity he needs to prove that he can grab and retain that position, while only being spelled for 10-20 games by Anton Khudobin, a decent backup in his own right. For $3.5 million, Rask can make a name for himself as a legitimate #1 goalie at no terrible cost to the Bruins - if he can't cut it, the Bruins can trade for better goaltending and dangle Rask to a contender as a gapstop backup; if he can, the Bruins retain his rights and can sign him to a longer-term contract.