Tuukka Rask's recovery process has begun.
The Boston Bruins goaltender had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his hip "a few days ago," Joe McDonald of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette reported Wednesday. Rask is expected to return sometime in January or February, per McDonald.
Rask battled the injury during much of the 2021 season, appearing in just 24 of the Bruins' 56 regular-season games and playing through the hip ailment in the postseason. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said last week he expected Rask to miss the beginning of the 2021-22 campaign while recovering from surgery.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Boston sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
"He won't be ready for the start of the season, and we know that," Sweeney said, via the Bruins' official website. "We'll know the timeline associated with it. Tuukka and I's communication has been good. Just allowing him to get healthy, first and foremost, and we'll see where he's at after that, both mentally and physically."
While Rask is an unrestricted free agent as of 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, the 34-year-old has insisted he wants to re-sign with Boston to finish his career as a Bruin. But Rask's injury timeline means the B's could seek goaltending depth in free agency outside promising 22-year-old Jeremy Swayman and 23-year-old Dan Vladar, who spent much of last season in Providence.
McDonald suggested Boston could target former Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark in free agency. Ullmark stopped 91.7% of the shots he faced in Buffalo last season and could serve as a veteran complement to Swayman until Rask returns.