It seems quaint now, but don’t forget that there was a time, just seven months ago, when it was a legitimate question whether or not Tuukka Rask was a true No. 1 goaltender. After going 14-8 with a 1.88 GAA and .940 save percentage in 22 Stanley Cup playoff games this year, suffice it to say that question has been answered with gusto.
Now, Rask and the Boston Bruins just need to come together on a contract for 2013-14 and beyond.
That may be no easy task, with the NHL salary cap lowering next season. Andrew Ference, though well-liked in Boston, is expected to be a casualty of the cap, for instance. Rask, however, is confident that a deal between him and the Bruins can and will be reached.
“Why would I be nervous [about a new contract]?” Rask told Comcast Sportsnet. “It would be an ideal situation. I want to play here forever, and hopefully that gets to happen.
“I’m not really worried that things are going to fall apart because we can’t make it work. Obviously we’re going to have some talks, but at the end of the day we’re going to leave all the [expletive] aside and make a deal that makes everybody happy.”
On the other side of the coin, Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli seems equally optimistic about finding some middle ground with Rask.
“You’d like to get everything done quickly. I don’t know if I’ll have that luxury, but certainly I’ll try just so you have your certainty on your team and cap and all that,” said Chiarelli. “He’s obviously had a terrific playoff, and we’d like to get him done as soon as we can.”
That’s good news for Bruins fans. Though the the rest of the core of the team will mostly stay intact, losing Rask would be a huge blow to Boston’s chances next year.