Don Sweeney Brushes Off Tuukka Rask Trade Talk As Bruins Eye Offseason

The Bruins GM considers Rask a 'big part' of Boston's future

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Tuukka Rask recently has been the subject of trade speculation, but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney threw cold water on the rumors Monday, indicating the veteran goaltender remains an important piece of Boston’s future.

“As a matter of fact, our staff has communicated with Tuukka, and as I said before, he remains a big part of our roster planning going forward because I think, by my knowledge, he was second in the Vezina balloting and we feel very, very comfortable with where our goaltending is at,” Sweeney told reporters during a video conference. “And I think you?re going to need it. I don’t know what the schedule and what the season — I think there are a lot of things that are up in the air, but it could be a challenging environment from a season standpoint. Might make goaltending even more a big part of what you have to have going forward.”

Rask, who opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in August during the Bruins’ first-round playoff series against the Carolina Hurricanes, is entering the final year of his contract with Boston. He’s coming off another excellent season, though, and the goaltending tandem of Rask and Jaroslav Halak has been integral to the team’s recent success, even though the Bruins have fallen short of hoisting the Stanley Cup.

It’s unclear at this point what exactly the next NHL campaign will look like in wake of a 2019-20 season that ended with playoff hockey played inside bubble environments in Toronto and Edmonton. But a potentially taxing schedule is worth considering as the Bruins assess their goaltending situation, including Rask’s future in Black and Gold.

Rask will turn 34 in March. Halak turns 36 in May.

“I don’t think there is one way to accomplish the goal, but I do believe you have to be in a position to make sure that you can absorb either a short- or a long-term injury and feel good about your goaltending moving forward,” Sweeney said. “As far as the longevity, obviously, both our goaltenders are playing into their 30s and playing well. I think you’ve got several around the league that are also doing it. I just don’t know when the drop-off comes, and Father Time gets us all. It’s to be determined for each and every individual. And how they train probably affects it, as well.”

This figures to be a busy week across the league, with the 2020 NHL Entry Draft beginning Tuesday and free agency kicking off Friday.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Bruins operate this offseason after being eliminated from the playoffs by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.

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