Tuukka Rask/Photo by S. Bradley

If he didn’t have Tim Thomas in front of him these last couple years, maybe Tuukka Rask would be the guy today celebrating a Stanley Cup championship and a new 10-year contract extension instead of Los Angeles goaltender Jonathan Quick.

Instead, Rask had to “settle” for a one-year deal with an amazing raise.

According to several reports today, including one from TSN reporter Bob McKenzie, the Bruins’ newly anointed No. 1 goaltender and the team have agreed to a $3.5 million deal for the 2012-13 season. Rask was scheduled to become a restricted free agent July 1 with arbitration rights. He also could have received an offer sheet from another team.

Rask’s annual value on his previous deal averaged to just $1.25 million per season. So based on an injury-shortened season that saw him post a 2.05 goals-against average and .929 save percentage last season, and one season as the starter (and league leader in GAA and save percentage) in 2009-10, Rask has earned one heck of a raise.

We’ll know more about the reasoning for the term of this deal when general manager Peter Chiarelli makes it official and comments on the matter. But it looks like this is a deal that helps the Bruins get by next season with an all-world goaltender under the salary cap if they’re unable to get out from under Tim Thomas’ $5 million cap hit. It also allows Rask to fill Thomas’ vacated slot and then really cash in next summer as an RFA if he plays up to his potential this season. The Bruins meanwhile will still have some flexibility to put a stronger team around Rask.