Name: Tuukka Rask
Status: Re-signed a two-year, $2.5M contract through 2011-12 season
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The Good: Give the 23-year-old another dozen starts or so and you have yourself the 2010 Calder Memorial Trophy winner. Period. What was supposed to be a season of riding the pine behind the 2009 Vezina Trophy winner with 20-25 starts, Rask’s sensational play between the pipes earned himself the No. 1 role.
I think we all knew the Finnish net-minder was going to be a very good goalie someday. But I don’t think we knew he was going to be this good, this soon. His staggering save-percentage and goals-against average topped the NHL charts this season, and literally saved the Bruins’ playoff chances from the get-go. Rewind back to mid-November when Tim Thomas went, unofficially, from No. 1 to the No. 2 role, after injuring his hand. Rask stepped-in and started the next six contests, posting a 4-1-1 record and a .938 save-percentage — catapulting the Bruins from a 8-7-4 record to 12-8-5 and from 10th in the Eastern Conference to fifth.
In the six games in which Thomas was pulled from this season, Rask came in relief and stopped 71-of-75 shots for a .947 save-percentage.
I personally thought that Claude Julien should have spared Rask after the third goal in the second period of Game 5 in Philly. The score was 3-0 in favor of the Flyers, and at that point, it was over. But akin to that last four games of the Semi’s, Boston was simply out-worked and out-coached.
Rask has solidified himself as the No. 1 net-minder from here-on-out, especially with Thomas nursing a surgically repaired hip. On Nov. 5, 2009, the 6’3″ Rask was inked to a steal-of-a-deal, keeping him in Boston through 2012 at $1.25M per season. Boston, historically, has had some tough luck with some young prospects between the pipes. But something tells me Rask should put an end to that curse.
Next report card: No 42 Trent Whitfield
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