By Ty Anderson, 985TheSportsHub.com
The Boston Bruins have a good thing with their one-two punch of Jaroslav Halak and Tuukka Rask. And it’s a tandem that’ll stay together through 2020-21, too, as the Bruins worked out a one-year, $2.25 million extension with Halak on Friday.
Signed to a two-year, $5.5 million contract following Anton Khudobin’s departure at the end of the 2017-18 season, the Slovak-born Halak has been more than a bargain for Boston, with a 40-17-10 record and .921 save percentage over his 71-game run in town.
One of 34 goaltenders to log at least 4,000 minutes of action over the last two seasons, Halak’s .921 ranks as the fourth-best among that group, while his 23.25 goals saved above average is the seventh-most over that same span. Halak’s .845 high-danger save percentage since coming to Boston, meanwhile, also ranked as the fourth-best in hockey.
Looked upon as Bruce Cassidy’s 1B, the 34-year-old was just as effective before the league pressed pause on this season, too, with 18 wins (three shutouts) and a .919 save in 31 appearances.
But most importantly, the presence of Halak has also allowed the Bruins to truly rest (and test) Rask when necessary, too, which clearly paid off in Halak’s first season in Boston, as a rested Rask put together best postseason run since 2013.
Halak has compiled 272-167-58, .916 save percentage, and 2.48 goals against average in a 14-year career between five teams, and is one of just 11 active goaltenders to have made at least 500 starts.
With Halak taken care of, Zdeno Chara, Torey Krug, Kevan Miller, and Joakim Nordstrom are the only pending unrestricted free agents remaining for the Bruins. Jake DeBrusk, Matt Grzelcyk, and Anders Bjork are some of the club’s restricted free agents.
Should the cap stay flat next season, the Bruins will have just under $18 million to sign this group.