Tuukka Rask inherited the golden throne from Tim Thomas in 2013; since then his performance has been vezina trophy winner to zamboni driver and everything in between. Before I get to far into this, I want to say I support Tuuk and I really do think he’s a good goal tender; however, lately it seems that he may not be what the bruins need right now.
Tuukka won the vezina trophy in the 2013-2014 season and although the bruin’s didn’t win the cup, any sports fan could give Rask credit for their relatively successful playoff run that year. This was right after Rask had signed for 8 years and $56 million- I remember hearing the news and thinking “this guys is gona be a bruin for life” – things were looking pretty good. Until the next couple years when the bruins didn’t make the play offs. Now I am not blaming the minuscule playoff “drought” on Rask because I personally believe the Bruin’s defense was going through some changes which negatively affected Rask, but nonetheless they did miss the playoffs 2 years in a row. What I find more interesting though, is that since he won his vezina, Rask’s GAA has increased steadily from 2.00 (2012-2013) to 2.36 (2017-2018). Not too bad, then you look at his current GAA, 3.38 (2018-2019), and you cringe. If you look at Halak’s (the back ups) GAA you feel a lot better, 1.43 (2018-2019). Listen, I know it is hard to compare these stats because the season is still so young and Rask has played a lot more than Halak but it’s something to think about.
Although Rask is off to a rough start I think most people would bet that he is “better” than Halak, the issue is money. Rask is getting paid a premium price to play at a slightly above average to average level. Even so, his performance is variable, which we have seen the past few years. He makes wild acrobatic saves but sometimes lets in a saucer pass. The last 5 games he has let in 5, 3, 2, 4, and 1 goals respectively. On the other hand Halak is getting paid $5.5 million for 2 years (even if you extend the contract its quite a bit less than Rask) and let in 0, 1, 3, 2, 0 respectively. Again, small sample size but it’s food for thought.
If you trade of Rask that frees up a lot of money to be spent elsewhere which right now might be important. The team could invest in a banged up and young defense. I believe the bruins can score goals but lately the issue seems to be all of the injuries on defense and the lack of experience on defense. Yeah, Chara has enough experience for all of those young bucks but he is inevitably slowing down due to his age. I think investing some more cap in a seasons (but not ancient) defensemen to help bring some leadership and experience to the young defense would help the B’s quite a bit. Someone like Drew Doughty or Erik Karlson who were both recently (sort of) traded. I am sure you could find a few players who fit this bill.
As a Rask fan, I would hate to see him go. In a perfect world maybe he takes a pay cut and splits time with Halak and we see what happens, but that seems unlikely. But then again with his variable play style maybe he will turn this into another Vezina year.. maybe? But with all of the money spent on Rask you have to ask, is he worth it anymore? Tell us what YOU think on our twitter (@casualfball) and or facebook (@casualirishtalk) page and give us a follow.