Rask was born and grew up in Savonlinna, Finland, but career progression dictated that he leave his hometown for the SM-Liiga organization of Ilves at the age of 16. There he continued to dominate in his age group. He won the 2004 Viking Cup along with the award for the best goaltender. The 2004 U18 WC was a great personal success for Rask despite the team’s disappointing fate.
2004-05: Rask faced new challenges behind poor defenses and against strong opposition in both SM-Liiga and the WJC. He collected most of his minutes in Finnish Jr. A where he won the championship after a beyond-perfect performance, 9 wins in 10 games with a GAA of 0.87 and saves at .973. The magic wore off by the year’s U18 WC, however, where Rask was disappointing.
2005-06: The pecking order at the goalie position expectedly went through changes over the course of the season. Rask with his very limited experience wasn’t ready to take over Juha Pitkämäki at first. The fall season was about backup duties, but once Rask returned from the WJC’s, he excelled in a couple of games. Soon it became apparent that he wasn’t just riding a hot streak but given a start after another, quietly taking over the starter’s position.
2006-07: Ilves headed into the year with a teenage goalie tandem Tuukka Rask (BOS) and Riku Helenius (TB). Helenius suffered a shoulder injury in practice early in the season before he got to play and the recovery took longer than anticipated. In turn, Rask had more than enough work to deal with. He played 49 games and faced the second most shots in the league, taking care of WJC duties on the side. Rask performed commendably, saving Ilves on many occasions by winning close games when the team couldn’t score. His GAA of 2.39 and the save percentage .928 were among the league’s finest. Rask streched a gap to the team’s second best player perhaps wider than in any other SM-liiga organisation.
An all-star of the 2006 WJC, Rask had high expectations placed on him after his continued development back home over the year. His task was basically to support the team with a star performance when it was winning, and to win the game even when the rest of the players weren’t up to it. In that sense, Rask’s greatest failure was in the opening game against Belarus. Rask played nearly perfect in the two games versus the Czechs and the Swiss, keeping mistakes to a minimum in the rest of the tournament as well.
2007-08: Rask played his rookie pro season in North America with the Providence Bruins (AHL). He earned a spot on the AHL PlanetUSA All-Star team. He was also recalled to Boston early in the season
2008-09: Rask’s second season with the Providence Bruins (AHL) saw the goaltender seize more ice-time. He posted a 33-20-4 record with a 2.50 goals against average and a .915 save percentage. He also saw more NHL action, suiting up for a game with the Bruins.
Rask is likely to develop his movement to the level of the very best in the world. Right now the butterfly goalie moves with an explosive, controlled horizontal slide while maintaining good coverage. He gets back to his feet instantly when needed. With these qualities, when on his game, he has always been able to save his team from no matter how dominant opponents. Rask's frame is decent and he shows good coverage from time to time but suffers from inconsistent technique, which he will be working on for a long time still. At this point his stamina is relatively poor, which also contributes to his inconsistency.