Rumors have been surfacing around Causeway Street of a possible Tuukka Rask retirement. If the Bruins all-time winningest goalie decides to hang it up, what direction will the Bruins goaltending search go this summer? In this post, we will review three avenues the Bruins may go through if Tuukka Rask retires.
Free Agent Goaltending
The summer of 2020 has several goalies on the market. The top names include Braden Holtby of Washington and Corey Crawford of Chicago. Top names usually bring a top dollar contract, one that could be too expensive for the Bruins.
Some reasonably-priced goalies are Robin Lehner of Las Vegas, Anton Khudobin of Dallas, Jacob Markstrom of Vancouver, and Boston’s Jaroslav Halak. All are 1Bs or backup goaltenders. The best deal on the market is Halak of the Bruins. Halak is in the final year of a two-year deal with a $2.75 million AAV. For the right price, he would be the obvious choice to replace Rask.
Numbers-wise, Halak and Rask have similar records for this year. Halak, however, lacks playoff experience, which could deter the Bruins from offering him a long-term contract.
Bruins Goaltending In The Pipeline
Depth wise, the Bruins do not have any goaltenders who are NHL ready. The number one candidate is Daniel Vladar. Vladar has been in the system since 2015. A third-round draft choice out of the Czech Republic. His record is 33-22 with a 2.35 GAA and a 916 save percentage. Last season, he was called up briefly, but has no real game experience.
An interesting prospect could be Max Lagacé. Lagacé is the Providence Bruins starting goalie. This season he has an impressive record recording 22 wins and 7 losses. His GAA is 2.37 and a .919% save percentage. Like Vladar, Lagacé is a long way off before he sees any action at the big league level.
One possibility could be their fourth round pick from 2017, Jeremy Swayman. Swayman was selected by the Bruins, but returned to the University of Maine. In three seasons with the Black Bears, Swayman played in 100 games. He could be a strong contender next season in Providence.
The 2020 NHL Draft
Option number three is the draft. Currently, the Bruins have five picks in this year’s draft. The number one goalie to keep an eye on is Yaroslav Askarov of Russia. But without a first round pick, there is a very slim chance the Bruins will get him at 62 overall.
Two other prospects two watch are Calle Clang of Sweeden and Nico Daws of the Guelph Storm of the OHL. Clang is the best goalie coming out of Sweeden this year. His quick glove and work ethic fit the mold of a Bruin. Daws is NHL ready At 21 he already has a gold medal and world championship under his belt. His 6’4″ inch frame is what coaches love. A butterfly style goalie, he is projected to go in the later rounds.
If and when Tuukka Rask retires the Bruins have several decisions to make. Do they spend the money? Do they wait for a Jeremy Swayman to develop? Rask is one of the greatest Bruins goalies ever, replacing him will be a daunting challenge.
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