After months of wondering if he would return, then a couple months of it seeming like a foregone conclusion, Tuukka Rask is officially a member of the Boston Bruins organization once again after signing a professional tryout contract with the Providence Bruins.

A professional tryout contract (PTO) is for veteran players who have played or are currently playing professional hockey and are not under an NHL contract.

The 14-year NHL vet appeared in net 24 times during last year's abbreviated 56-game regular season. Rask underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip shortly after the Bruins were bounced from the Stanley Cup Playoffs last summer and has been rehabbing ever since.

Rask had been practicing with the Bruins over the last couple months at the Warrior Ice Arena.

The tandem of Jeremy Swayman and Linus Ullmark have held down the fort in goal through Boston's first 29 games this season. Ullmark is 9-5-0 with a 2.58 GAA and a .917 save percentage while Swayman is 8-5-2 with a 2.21 GAA and a .920 save percentage.

Swayman, whose 2.21 GAA is 6th-best in the NHL, will likely be the odd man out when Rask is ready to return to Boston, as the former-Black Bear can be sent to Providence without having to pass through waivers. Meanwhile, Ullmark is inked to a $20-million contract and has a full no-movement clause.

While the NHL's "taxi squads" are expected to go away sometime in early February, there is the possibility of the Bruins carrying all three goalies until that time to cope with the congested schedule over the final four months of the regular season.

Rask is expected to start between the pipes Friday night for Providence when they host the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.

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