Tuukka Rask is coming off a season that saw his stat line fall a few ice chips shy of his breakthrough campaign in 2009-10. Through 23 appearances this past year, he retained a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage, both better than colleague Tim Thomas.
As easy as it might be to forget, especially given that his last lick of extramural action preceded an injury March 3 against the New York Islanders, Rask has plenty to build upon.
How much and how swiftly he builds on that will hold inevitable sway over the destination of the Boston Bruins effective as soon as the start of next season. Thomas has removed himself from the equation, swinging the door open for the towering Finn to claim a permanent starting position on his second try.
With the privilege of rewarded patience comes the expectation that Rask will, in short order, return Boston to something more along the lines of 2011 status as opposed to 2012, 2010 or most any year prior.
Granted, he might not backstop his own championship run without fail in 2013, but there are enough reasons to believe the 25-year-old Rask can soon be in the cage for a Cup run in Boston.