MIDDLETON, Mass. — Tuukka Rask is 31 years old and entering his 10th full season as an NHL goalie. At this stage, not much fazes him.

So when he chatted with a few reporters, he certainly didn’t seem put off that the Bruins went out and signed another backup goalie who’d previously been an NHL starter.

Does Rask believe he’ll be in a more competitive situation for playing time now that 33-year-old Jaroslav Halak, who has 232 wins under his belt, is in the fold?

“There’s always a competitive situation and I’m sure you guys will try to create something out of it, too, so we’ll see how it goes,” he said with a wry smile. “Every year we start from zero and I think the goal for every team is to have two good goaltenders and then you see how it plays out. You spread out the playing time between both of them and hope that going into the playoffs, everyone is fresh and ready to go. But I think the team has the luxury to have two good goaltenders.”

Rask is the clear No. 1, but he has no reason to be complacent about his playing time. When he struggled early and with the season hanging in the balance last year, Coach Bruce Cassidy went with former backup Anton Khudobin for a stretch of games. It was the first time Rask had essentially been benched since Tim Thomas won back the starter’s job in 2010-11. But the way it all shook out, Rask ended up getting just about his expected number of games (he got 53 starts and played in 54).

“Last year was the first year where we set up a plan and stuck with it, so I think that benefited everybody,” said Rask. “We finished the year disappointing, but having the meetings and talking to the coaches and managers, I felt fresh and I had a lot of energy left in me, and I think that’s a great sign. It’s what we want to have and this year is not going to be any different.”

Having a reliable backup like Khudobin helped Rask right his game. And when it was his turn to carry the ball again, he ripped off a stretch that was more reminiscent of his Vezina Trophy-winning season of 2013-14. From Nov. 29 to Feb. 6, Rask went 19-0-2 and helped make Boston one of the best teams in the league during that time.

“A lot of it is just confidence and how you’re seeing the puck and so on,” said Rask.

“Obviously, when you go on a streak like that, you feel good. But a lot of it is how the team is playing and how your team is performing together and I think they all go hand in hand. It’s not like I felt great and won games (by myself). … We were playing great as a team.”

Zdeno Chara

ZDENO CHARA might be 41 years old, but the Bruins captain doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

After anchoring Boston’s defense in 2017-18 and averaging 22:54 in time on ice, Chara was rewarded with a one-year contract extension worth up to $6.75 million for the 2018-19 season – securing the future Hall of Famer’s spot on the Bruins’ blue line for his 13th season with the club.

Chara’s future with the Bruins might be on a yearly basis given his age, but Bruins Coach Bruce Cassidy said on Tuesday that he doesn’t think the 6-foot-9 defenseman will be hanging up his skates in the near future.

“He’s one of our, if not our best defensemen. … Zee’s got a lot of hockey left in him,” Cassidy said. “I know that for a fact.”

THE BRUINS had their fair share of players starting the offseason on the shelf, from the usual bumps and bruises to serious injuries such as a fractured ankle for both Torey Krug and Brandon Carlo.

Still, Cassidy told the Boston Globe that he expects all of his injured players to be ready for the start of training camp.

That list includes both Krug and Carlo – along with Patrice Bergeron (groin surgery), Jake DeBrusk (shoulder sprain), David Backes (concussion) and Noel Acciari (hernia).

While Bergeron is expected to be ready for camp, Cassidy did note that the star center may not be ready for the start of preseason tuneups.

While Bergeron might sit out some games in September, Cassidy added that he expects his first-line center to be ready for Boston’s season opener against Washington on Oct. 3.

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