|Bruins sign Alexander Khokhlachev as he prepares for KHL||06.29.12 at 12:40 pm ET|
WILMINGTON — Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli shed light on 2011 second-round pick Alexander Khokhlachev‘s situation Friday, confirming that the Russian forward will play in the KHL next season but noting that the Bruins have agreed with him on an entry level deal, allowing them to retain his rights. The deal will not be registered with the league until Sunday.
Khokhlachev, 18, will play one season in the KHL for Moscow Spartak (where his father is the general manager) before returning to North America to turn pro in the 2013-14 season.
“The plan is now for him to play in Russia,” Chiarelli said. “He’ll attend our camp, and then he’ll go back for the Russian team — his father is the [general] manager there. After one year, he’s under our [control]. He wants to be an NHL player, and he’s making strides towards that.”
Khokhlachev’s season with the Windsor Spitfires [OHL] was cut short by a lacerated kidney last season, an injury from which he still hasn’t fully recovered. He’s taking part in this week’s development camp, but is not taking contact.
The 5-foot-10 forward had 34 goals in 67 games in his draft year before adding 25 more in 56 games this past season. There may be more room for growth against higher competition in the KHL, something “Koko,” as he is called, looks forward to.
“I will be playing with men,” Khokhlachev said. “It’s not junior hockey. It’s a lot of guys who have played in the NHL before, so it’s a really good league, the second[-best] league in the world. … In OHL, I play against [younger] guys, and in [the KHL] I’ll play against men.”
Said Chiarelli: “If you have an hour, I could go through all the positives and negatives of both,” Chiarelli said. “What we decided with Koko was that it’s a unique set of circumstances with his dad being the manager there and saying, ‘Look, it’s one year and then back to North America.’ He felt it was right for him, and at the end of the day we went along with him on this. We’re going to support him on it.”
Khokhlachev’s English was very limited when he was first drafted by the B’s last summer, but he seems to have a much better handle on the language after another year of lessons. He said Friday that he’ll be able to continue practicing his English in Russia, as his KHL team will have an American goaltender and a Canadian defenseman.
|Reaction to the Tuukka Rask deal||06.28.12 at 4:36 pm ET|
With the Bruins and Tuukka Rask reportedly agreeing in principle to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, several points can be drawn. Here’s some quick analysis of the signing.
- Given that Rask has never started the majority of the regular-season games in any season in his NHL career, this deal is a smart one for the B’s. It allows Rask, who was limited to just 22 starts last season due to being Tim Thomas‘ backup and later being injured, to prove to the Bruins that he’s an elite starting goaltender before they pay him as such.
The most starts Rask has had in a single season was 39 back in the 2009-10 season, when he led the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He had 27 starts in the 2010-11 season before last season’s 22.
- Rask, who would have been a restricted free agent this Sunday (the first day of free agency), will be a restricted free agent again at the end of this deal. A player needs to either be 27 years of age or to have played seven seasons in the league in order to be an unrestricted free agent, and the now-25-year-old Rask will be neither next July 1. That means that there’s no possibility that Rask can put together a mammoth season and bolt next summer without the Bruins getting anything return. If Rask ends up getting big money out of this move, it will come from the Bruins unless they trade him or see him signed away via an offer sheet. The latter scenario would be as rare as it gets, so don’t count on him going anywhere.
- Malcolm Subban doesn’t have anything to do with this. The 18-year-old OHL goaltender and 2012 24th overall pick is still years and years away from being an NHL goaltender, so there’s no chance that the B’s gave Rask one year with the idea of replacing him with Subban in 2013.
- While the one-year deal isn’t a major shock for reasons listed above, the $3.5 million total could be a bargain for the Bruins. It’s a big raise for Rask, who carried a $1.25 million cap hit over the course of his recently expired two-year, $2.5 million deal, but the guess here was that Rask’s next deal would end up getting a deal somewhere around $4 million range. If he puts together a brilliant season for the B’s, he could end up getting paid much more than that each year in his next deal. With Thomas’ deal expired by then (if they don’t trade him), the B’s will have that space against the cap to commit to Rask.
- Speaking of next deals, Peter Chiarelli is going to have a lot of work to do over the course of the next year. Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference and Anton Khudobin will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron will all be restricted.
|Bruins reportedly give Tuukka Rask one-year deal||at 4:14 pm ET|
According to TSN’s Bob McKenzie (via twitter), the Bruins and goaltender Tuukka Rask have agreed to terms on a one-year, $3.5 million deal. Rask was set to become a restricted free agent on Sunday, the opening of free agency.
Last season, Rask was limited to 22 starts due to an abdomen/groin injury suffered in March. He posted an 11-8-3 record with a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage. He is expected to be the team’s No. 1 goalie next season, with Anton Khudobin serving as the backup.
In order to be an unrestricted free agent, a player must be either 27 years of age or have played seven years in the league. Rask, 25, will not have met either of those benchmarks, so he will be a restricted free agent again following the coming season.
|Shawn Thornton talks Tuukka Rask, Malcolm Subban and the Merlot Line||06.26.12 at 6:14 pm ET|
Bruins enforcer Shawn Thornton was at Fenway Tuesday to take in a Red Sox game, and he took a few minutes to talk to WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford. Here are a few highlights of the conversation:
On Tuukka Rask being the No. 1 goalie this coming season:
“I’ve been texting with him. He’s back in Finland, so I haven’t had a full conversation with him, but I’ve texted back and forth with him. Not about anything hockey-wise, just life stuff.
“It’s June, so I’m not too worried about it right now. I have all the confidence in the world in Tuukka. His numbers have proven that he can start in this league. All his teammates love him. He’s a great guy. They still have to re-sign him, but I’m very confident with him between the pipes.”
On the team giving three-year deals to line mates Gregory Campbell and Daniel Paille:
“I’m ecstatic. I’ve loved playing with those guys. We kind of know where each other are on the ice now. We don’t have to talk, we’ve been with each other for so long now that we can kind of just read off each other. That should help us in years to come.”
On the chemistry between fourth-liners:
“I’ve been on it longer, I guess. I get along with them very well as friends, first and foremost, and obviously as teammates. I’m happy to have them back.”
On having a Subban (Malcolm Subban) in the organization:
“I don’t follow junior hockey, so I didn’t even know [P.K. Subban] had a brother playing, to tell you the truth. If he was the best player available and he’s going to make our team better in the future, then I mean Peter’s a pretty smart man and I’m sure they made the right choice.”
Rob Bradford contributed [a.k.a. did all the legwork] to this report.
|Tuukka Rask wants to remain with Bruins, Peter Chiarelli ‘not inclined’ to trade Tim Thomas||04.27.12 at 3:50 pm ET|
Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask said Friday that he hopes to sign a long term deal with the team this offseason. A restricted free agent, Rask could refuse to sign with the team and force his way out of town, but the 25-year-old netminder said his plan is to stay.
“I think you guys know the answer to that question,” he said. “I’ve always said that I like it here and I want to come back, so that’s about it.”
Furthermore, Rask said that he wouldn’t require the Bruins to give him the starting job in order for him to return. Asked whether he’d still sign if the team planned on keeping Tim Thomas as the starter, Rask said he would.
Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli, meanwhile, said that he is “not inclined” to trade either one of his goalies this offseason. Rask and the Bruins have yet to begin negotiating.
“I think there’s a clear plan,” Rask said. “I think everybody’s been talking about it for a long time. It’s not about the money, it’s more about what’s good for everybody. I’ve always said I like it here, and I think we have a great group of guys and the organization is great, so I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to be here. In my case, I love it here and we’ve just got to make things work.”
|Tuukka Rask will remain out for Game 4||04.19.12 at 1:04 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Everyone was on the ice for the Bruins in Thursday’s morning skate, and the lineup appears unchanged heading into Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Capitals.
Tuukka Rask appears to be getting closer for the Bruins as he continues to see an increased workload in practice, but coach Claude Julien said after the morning skate that the Finnish goaltender is not yet ready to return from his abdomen/groin injury.
The lines are as follows:
Milan Lucic – Patrice Bergeron – Rich Peverley
Brad Marchand – David Krejci – Tyler Seguin
Benoit Pouliot – Chris Kelly – Brian Rolston
Daniel Paille – Gregory Campbell – Shawn Thornton
Zdeno Chara – Dennis Seidenberg
Andrew Ference – Johnny Boychuk
Greg Zanon – Joe Corvo
|Tuukka Rask doesn’t swear, but he explains why the Tim Thomas White House snub won’t be an issue||04.16.12 at 2:16 pm ET|
WASHINGTON — Everyone in the world wants to forget about the Tim Thomas/White House fiasco, and maybe they finally can after Monday night.
Game 3 will be Thomas’ second game at Verizon Center since the reigning Conn Smythe winner skipped the team’s White House visit in January. Fans in D.C. are being encouraged to wear Barack Obama masks as a way of taunting Thomas.
The Bruins are sick of answering questions about Thomas and the White House. Thomas has promised the media that he will end his sessions with reporters if the White House or his politics are mentioned. Both times it has happened since, Thomas has made good on his word and walked out.
Yet Tuukka Rask was happy to explain why he doesn’t think Thomas will be impacted by a Verizon Center full of fans who are angry with the two-time Vezina winner.
“I think everybody’s angry at him because he’s so good,” Rask said. “You guys know him almost as well as I do. He doesn’t give a… shoot about that stuff. It doesn’t bother him at all.”
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