By: Brandon Flowers | Follow me on Twitter @BKFlowers1
With the 2020-2021 season status still up in the air, we have no idea when or if hockey will be back. We can only hope and be optimistic about having some good old hockey yet again. A new season comes with predictions and opinions about players and teams. With that being said, let’s look at the Bruins team and goaltending situation. With most free agents off the board, don’t expect the Bruins to make another splash unless it’s via trade. Their team and goaltending situation is pretty much all set heading into the new year. For the most part, the Bruins are still intact from last season (with a few minor changes), as is the same for the goalies leading this team. Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak have been the leaders behind the next for the past few seasons, and that is something to be optimistic about going into next season.
Tuukka Rask has been a rock-solid goalie for the Bruins ever since he took over for Tim Thomas. He has been one of the league’s best goaltenders for the past few seasons. Last year during the 2019-2020 season, Rask finished second in voting for the Vezina trophy, which is awarded to the NHL’s goaltender, who is best at his position. Connor Hellebuyck (31-25-5) of the Winnipeg Jets received 19 first-place votes to win the coveted Vezina trophy. Rask wasn’t far behind, finishing with 10 first-place votes and a regular-season record of 26-8-6. Rask has been known to play exceptionally well during the regular season but not pull through when it matters most come playoff time.
Tuukka Rask opted out of the NHL’s Toronto bubble during the B’s first-round series due to a family emergency last season. Ever since then, people have been speculating if Rask is really committed to the team and to winning another Stanley Cup. Since the season finished, Rask has come out and said that he wants to remain a Boston Bruin and is committed to continuing his career and winning. If Rask is being honest, look for him to come back next season and have another strong year as the Bruins number one goalie.
The question is will Tuukka Rask do enough to win his second Vezina Trophy next season? One of the reasons he may not do enough is because the Bruins have a backup goalie named Jaroslav Halak, who brings a substantial one-two punch. Rask and Halak are arguably one of the best goalie tandems in the league. This allows for Rask and Halak to split the season games and not have both of them exhausted come playoff time. Halak is starting to get up there in age; he is currently 35-years-old but could be a starting-caliber goalie for many NHL teams. Having two starting-caliber goalies on your team is a huge bonus, but this allows for the pressure to be taken off of Tuukka Rask, which slightly diminishes his chances of winning the Vezina.
If there is a next season, look for Rask to shine for the Bruins and definitely be in the running for the Vezina. Having other goalies that continue to be great like Connor Hellebuyck and Andrei Vasilevskiy in the league, Tuukka will have his work cut out for him. Tuukka Rask was and will continue to be the Bruins’ top guy in front of the net.