Bruins GM Don Sweeney dismisses talk of trading G Tuukka Rask

Boston Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said nothing has changed with the status of star goalie Tuukka Rask, despite rampant trade speculation surrounding the Vezina Trophy-nominated goaltender.

"As a matter of fact, our staff has communicated with Tuukka. As I said before, he remains a big part of our roster planning going forward. He was second in the Vezina balloting, and we feel very, very comfortable [with] where our goaltending is at," Sweeney said Monday.

Rask, 33, went 26-8-6 this season with a .929 save percentage and an NHL-best 2.12 goals-against average. He has been one of the league's top goaltenders, winning the Vezina Trophy in 2014. But he makes $7 million against the salary cap and is in the final year of his contract with Boston.

Rask opted out of the NHL restart while living in the Toronto bubble, citing family considerations. His decision came before Game 3 of the Bruins' playoff series with the Carolina Hurricanes on Aug. 15. Boston was later eliminated in the Eastern Conference semifinals against the eventual champion Tampa Bay Lightning, with backup Jaroslav Halak getting most of the work.

Sweeney publicly backed Rask's decision to opt out, saying at the time that he expected him back with the team next season. He said on Monday that having Rask as a part of a successful goalie tandem is crucial considering the uncertainty over the 2020-21 schedule.

"I think you're going to need it. I don't know what the schedule and what the season ... I think there are a lot of things that are up in the air, but it could be a challenging environment from a season standpoint. Might make goaltending even more a big part of what you have to have going forward," he said.

Sweeney also addressed the future of two key unrestricted free-agent defensemen in Torey Krug and Zdeno Chara.

On Krug, the general manager said the Bruins "haven't made any progress" with the 29-year-old puck-moving defenseman, who had 49 points in 61 games this season. Sweeney said the Bruins remain open to bringing him back, but that he holds no ill will toward Krug for testing the market.

"Several free agents have gone and tested the market and come back to the same place that they were at. It's something we would also consider," he said. [But] there's no way in hell you're going to change my opinion of what I think Torey has the right to do and I believe that. He's put himself in a great position either with us or with other teams that have interest in him."

On Chara, Sweeney said he's "had conversations, and will continue to have conversations" with the 43-year-old Boston captain.

"We have to be on the same page moving forward," he said, adding that Chara is "a very important part and leader on our hockey club."