Tuesday's NHL: Wild extend former Red Wings D Jon Merrill
St. Paul, Minn. — The Minnesota Wild agreed to terms on Tuesday with defenseman Jon Merrill on a three-year, $3.6 million contract extension through the 2024-25 season.
The 29-year-old Merrill has tied his career high with three goals to go with eight assists, a plus-8 rating and 51 blocked shots in 33 games this season, his first with the Wild and his fifth different NHL team. The native of Oklahoma City signed a one-year deal for $850,000 as a free agent last summer.
Merrill is tied for the team lead with blocked shots and has helped the Wild withstand recent absences by defensemen Jared Spurgeon, Jonas Brodin and Alex Goligoski due to injuries and COVID-19 protocols.
Rask agrees to 1-year deal to return to Bruins goal
Boston — The Boston Bruins have signed Tuukka Rask for the rest of the season, bringing back the winningest goalie in franchise history after he recovered from offseason hip surgery.
Rask, 34, was a free agent who remained unsigned while he recovered from an operation to repair a torn labrum in his hip. He said at the end of last season that he did not want to play for anyone other than Boston.
“This is our home,” he said. “At this point of my life and my career, I don’t see any reason to go anywhere else, especially with the health I’m looking at now and a recovery time of five or six months. Hopefully it works out that I recover well and we can talk about contracts when the time is right for that.”
Rask played in only 24 games last season as the team managed his workload while he fought hip and back injuries. After a second-round loss to the New York Islanders, he revealed that he needed hip surgery.
Rask began skating with the Bruins again this winter and signed a professional tryout agreement with Providence last week, but the AHL team had two games scrubbed because of COVID-19 protocols. Its next scheduled game is Friday night; the NHL Bruins are scheduled to play Montreal on Wednesday night and Philadelphia on Thursday night.
“I feel great,” Rask said last week during a video conference call with reporters. “The biggest issue for me was the catching of the joint and the pain that created. So that all is gone. … I don’t have to think about it locking up on me again and creating that pain, so I feel great.”
Rask said he never really considered retiring this offseason. The lure of being able to make one more run at a Stanley Cup and finish out his career alongside stars Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand played a factor in his decision to attempt a comeback.
““That’s why I never really, in my head wanted to flirt with opportunity to go somewhere else," Rask said. "For us as players when you have a team like the Bruins, basically a bunch of us have grown up together. So, you kind of feel that brotherhood. You don’t want to leave guys on bad terms.
“I just wanted to come back and maybe be helpful and try to finish it out with a bunch of those guys I’ve played with my whole career.”
The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner who was also a finalist in 2020, Rask led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2013 and again in 2019. He is the franchise's career leader with 306 regular-season wins (57 more in the playoffs), 560 regular-season games (104 in the playoffs) and a .921 save percentage.
In all, he is 306-163-66 with a 2.27 goals-against average and 52 shutouts. Last season, he was 15-5-2 with three shutouts, a 2.28 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage.