Reaction to the Tuukka Rask deal
|06.28.12 at 4:36 pm ET|
With the Bruins and Tuukka Rask reportedly agreeing in principle to a one-year, $3.5 million deal, several points can be drawn. Here’s some quick analysis of the signing.
– Given that Rask has never started the majority of the regular-season games in any season in his NHL career, this deal is a smart one for the B’s. It allows Rask, who was limited to just 22 starts last season due to being Tim Thomas‘ backup and later being injured, to prove to the Bruins that he’s an elite starting goaltender before they pay him as such.
The most starts Rask has had in a single season was 39 back in the 2009-10 season, when he led the NHL with a 1.97 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. He had 27 starts in the 2010-11 season before last season’s 22.
– Rask, who would have been a restricted free agent this Sunday (the first day of free agency), will be a restricted free agent again at the end of this deal. A player needs to either be 27 years of age or to have played seven seasons in the league in order to be an unrestricted free agent, and the now-25-year-old Rask will be neither next July 1. That means that there’s no possibility that Rask can put together a mammoth season and bolt next summer without the Bruins getting anything return. If Rask ends up getting big money out of this move, it will come from the Bruins unless they trade him or see him signed away via an offer sheet. The latter scenario would be as rare as it gets, so don’t count on him going anywhere.
– Malcolm Subban doesn’t have anything to do with this. The 18-year-old OHL goaltender and 2012 24th overall pick is still years and years away from being an NHL goaltender, so there’s no chance that the B’s gave Rask one year with the idea of replacing him with Subban in 2013.
– While the one-year deal isn’t a major shock for reasons listed above, the $3.5 million total could be a bargain for the Bruins. It’s a big raise for Rask, who carried a $1.25 million cap hit over the course of his recently expired two-year, $2.5 million deal, but the guess here was that Rask’s next deal would end up getting a deal somewhere around $4 million range. If he puts together a brilliant season for the B’s, he could end up getting paid much more than that each year in his next deal. With Thomas’ deal expired by then (if they don’t trade him), the B’s will have that space against the cap to commit to Rask.
– Speaking of next deals, Peter Chiarelli is going to have a lot of work to do over the course of the next year. Nathan Horton, Andrew Ference and Anton Khudobin will be unrestricted free agents next summer, while Rask, Tyler Seguin, Milan Lucic, Brad Marchand and Jordan Caron will all be restricted.