Boston Bruins report card: No. 40 Tuukka Rask
Throughout the offseason, Bruins Daily will be posting daily report cards on each individual of the 2011-12, Boston Bruins.
In order of jersey number, each player will be highlighted. In today’s edition, we have number 40, Bruins Goalie Tuukka Rask.
Name: Tuukka Rask
Weight: 171 lbs
Contract: RFA in 2012-13
2010-11 NHL Stats:
Regular season: 23 Games played, Record: 11-8-3, 3 SO, Save-percentage: .929, Goals-against average: 2.05, Saves: 577, Shots: 621
I’m one for sure that is a big Tuukka Rask fan. I absolutely believe that Tuukka is the Bruins goalie of the future. Tuukka was once again enjoying another good season as the Bruins backup goalie when he suffered an unfortunate injury. It seemed that any time the Finnish goalie was in net for the Bruins, the B’s would have trouble putting the puck into the net. In 23 games Tuukka posted an impressive 2.05 Goals-against average. Tuukka becomes a restricted free agent come July 1, and General Manager Peter Chiarelli has already gone on record saying he expects Tuukka back and as unlikely as it is that it will happen, Chiarelli will match any offer sheet sent Rask’s way.
Final Grade: B
Bruins fans love Tuukka Rask. Two U’s-Two-K’s equals one W. Rask only appeared in 23 games this season due to his knee injury suffered toward the end of the season. His stats were impressive up to that point sporting a 2.05 GAA with an 11-8-3- record. Rask had three shutouts on the year and at one point during the 2011-2012 season had a career-best 170:26 shutout streak.
He plays behind one of the best goaltenders in the National Hockey League, but Mr. Tim Thomas is 13 years older than the young and rising star. Rask is 25 years-old and cannot be a back up forever. It will be Tuukka’s time more in 2013 because he will be healthy, younger and has a better attitude than Tim Thomas. Look for Rask to get over 30 starts next season if not more if the Bruins decide to deal Tim Thomas. There is plenty of upside for the youngster and when he is between the pipes for the B’s, he gets the job done.
Final Grade: B+
Another solid outing once again for the Finnish netminder. Tuukka Rask’s overall performance on the ice continues to be No. 1 caliber for at least 50-percent of the rest of NHL teams out there. The fact that the Bruins have two legitimate starters has been their main reasons for success; they ranked top-6 once again in team goals-against.
It would be hard to imagine the Bruins’ brass not re-signing the 25-year-old butterfly goalie, but with the recent signing of Swedish hopeful Niklas Svedberg and Anton Khudobin coming back for a one-way contract, it certainly looks like one of them (Thomas or Rask) is on their way out. For compensation reasons, Thomas certainly has the better value right now. He has one year left, plenty of gas in the tank, and has proven yet again that he can carry a team into the playoffs. Rask, an RFA, would be more difficult to move via trade. As the free-agency market opens up in roughly five-weeks — albeit rare to extend a contract to an RFA — any team is open to send an offer Rask’s way.
I, for one, would rather see the Rask-Khudobin era to begin sooner than later.
Final grade: B+
Heading into the 2010-11 season, Tuukka Rask was pegged as the No. 1 goaltender and the man who was going to carry the Bruins for the forseeable future. After all, he came off an impressive rookie campaign in 2009-10 with a 1.97 goals against average and a .931 save percentage and arguably carried the Black and Gold to a playoff spot. In 2010-11 however, Tuukka struggled early on and saw his numbers dip (.918 sv %, 2.67 GAA) and Tim Thomas posted one of the best seasons for a goaltender since Dominik Hasek in the late 1990’s.
In 2011-12, Rask showed signs of returning to his form from his rookie year with a 2.05 goals against and a .929 save percentage; and he and Thomas provided a nice 1-2 goaltending tandem for the first few months of the year. An injury against the Isles, however, derailed Rask’s season and forced Thomas to play the majority of the games down the stretch, which also dampened the hopes of repeating as Cup Champs.
Because of that, the goaltending situation looks a little bleak heading into the offseason as Rask becomes an RFA. Assuming he re-signs, the question then gets directed into trading Thomas. Whether Thomas stays or not, expect Rask to get a bigger workload next season after playing in just 52 games the last two seasons.
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