The Boston Bruins and Jaroslav Halak agreed to a one-year contract extension with a cap hit of $2.25 million on Friday.
Halak, 34, posted an impressive 18-6-6 record in 31 games in 2019-20. The veteran now has another year of security for a team with Stanley Cup aspirations.
“Thank you to the Jacobs family, Cam [Neely}, Don [Sweeney], the coaching staff and my teammates for getting the deal done,” Halak said to the media on a conference call Saturday morning. “I’m super excited to be a part of this special group for another year.”
The deal benefits both parties. The Bruins bring back the second part of the best goaltender tandem in the NHL for a relatively cheap price and Halak gets another chance at winning a championship.
“I hate losing. I’ve hated it since I was a kid,” Halak added with a chuckle. “With this team, we have a chance to win every night and that’s the biggest reason why we play the sport, we want to win. I think winning and winning the Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal for everyone on this team.”
Yet, Halak’s new deal came at an unexpected time.
Don Sweeney noted that the sides have ongoing discussions since the beginning of the season. But in the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sixth-year Boston GM wanted to bring Halak and his veteran presence back in the fold whenever the league resumes its day-to-day operations.
“We could be facing a complex schedule in 2020-21,” Sweeney said on a conference call Saturday morning. “With him playing well, the tandem playing well and how Bruce [Cassidy] wants to utilize the goaltenders the last two years it has really been beneficial for our organization.”
It’s clear that Sweeney and the Bruins are going all in to win another title with this core and Halak remains a vital commodity for that.
The two goalie system paid dividends over the last two seasons. The Bruins hope that’ll continue into the postseason — if there is one — and beyond.
This move also gives Sweeny and the Bruins some salary cap flexibility. It allows the team to remain competitive in the short term while providing opportunities for some of their younger goaltenders in the system — including Jeremy Swayman, Kyle Keyser and Dan Vladar — to gain experience before jumping into the NHL.
“I’m excited about where we are at as an organization with our goaltenders,” Sweeney added.
Matt is a recent graduate from the Pennsylvania State University with a degree in sports journalism and a minor in business. He currently reports on the Boston Bruins and writes featured stories and game recaps for both Bruins Daily and Boston.com
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