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Tuukka Rask expected to sign new contract soon

07.03.13 at 10:43 am ET
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Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said Wednesday in a pre-free agency conference call that he is “confident” that the team will have a signed with Tuukka Rask “in short order,” and when asked whether it would be before or after free agency opens, Chiarelli replied, “I would think before.”

The GM said that he has a “placeholder number that he can work around” cap-wise if Rask isn’t signed when free agency opens, as Rask will likely take up the majority of the team’s available cap space. He could very likely sign a deal that makes him the highest-paid goaltender in the league (Pekka Rinne makes $7 million a year). Rask is a restricted free agent, so the only risk the Bruins run if they don’t sign him by Friday is that another club would sign him to an offer sheet, which the B’s would then have to match or lose the player in exchange for draft picks.

As far as the rest of free agency goes, Chiarelli said the Bruins’ priority is to rebuild the right side of their offense after losing their top two right wingers in Nathan Horton and Jaromir Jagr. Chiarelli told Jagr after the season that the Bruins would not be re-signing him, but he admitted Wednesday that they’ve thought of “circling back” to the 41-year-old since Horton told them he would not be returning. The right wing position will be addressed either in free agency or via trade, as the GM said there are “a couple” of trades the team is looking at.

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