Tuukka Rask has become the most polarizing subject of conversation in Boston sports. So you can also expect it to get pretty heated when it comes to his contract.
The Bruins goaltender is fresh off a 40-save game on Sunday, as Boston eliminated the Washington Capitals to advance to the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Rask is on track to hit unrestricted free agency this summer, so it’s fair to wonder whether we’re watching his final playoff run in a Bruins uniform.
But are the contract talks going on right now? They are not, according to Bruins President Cam Neely during a video conference on Tuesday. They are waiting until after the playoffs are complete. This was a mutual agreement.
“Both Tuukka and our camp, we said we’d table everything until after the season,” Neely said, “see how things go, and get a better sense after the season’s over for how Tuukka’s feeling, both mentally and physically, and go from there.”
Rask made $7 million over each of the past eight seasons as one of the NHL’s most productive goaltenders, a run that included a Vezina Trophy in 2014 and a Jennings Trophy in 2020. He’s also won 34 playoff games in that span and owns the highest all-time save percentage in the postseason.
Unfortunately, the run hasn’t included a Stanley Cup win. Rask and the Bruins painfully came up one victory short of a championship in 2019 against the St. Louis Blues. But Boston may not have made it to that point in the first place without Rask’s Conn Smythe-caliber run.
Rask’s contract will be an interesting discussion between the two sides, to say the least. And since it won’t come until after the season, it will be especially intriguing to see how Rask performs and how the B’s finish. If we get to mid-July and we’re talking about Rask as a Conn Smythe winner, or even a top candidate, that could make it much harder for the Bruins to keep him around. Rask may want to stay in Boston, but would he turn down a lucrative long-term offer from a team that’s more desperate for goaltending?
Many Bruins fans may be OK with that scenario, especially with Jeremy Swayman lurking as the long-term answer in net. But the notable part, here, is that Neely implies there will be contract discussions with Rask at some point.
Matt Dolloff is a writer and podcaster for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff and follow him on Instagram @mattydsays. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.