Bruins Off-Season Profiles: Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak
BOSTON – Compared to the off-season profile sets for the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and the New England Patriots, the Boston Bruins definitely have the least amount of positions to talk about. It’s not because the Bruins are any less important than the other teams. It’s just that the Red Sox have nine main batters in the lineup at nine different positions, along with an entire pitching rotation and bullpen. The Patriots have, at least, eight core groups of players. And the Celtics have a solid ten-man rotation that has seen a lot of overhaul this off-season. The Bruins, on the other hand, have centers, wings, defensemen, and goalies. It’s just a smaller sample size.
In fact, this first Bruins off-season profile will be dedicated to the goalies of the team, Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. It is also worth mentioning, I feel, that Kyle Keyser currently slots in as the Bruins’ third string goalie.
During the 2018-19 season, it was a true platoon at the goalie position as it seemed like Rask and Halak alternated their starts in the net. Halak ended up starting 37 games, compared with Rask’s 45, which is honestly pretty even. Once the post-season rolled around, however, Rask took his talents to the next level and cemented himself as an all-time Bruins great. He started 24 games to Rask’s zero and posted a 15-9 record with a .934 save percentage and a league leading 693 saves.
This all came in addition to Rask’s numbers in the regular season, which steadily improved over time to become stellar. Rask posted a 27-13-5 record with a .912 save percentage. That percentage was the lowest of his career, but he also played in the fewest games of his career since serving as Tim Thomas’ back-up. And besides, Rask’s numbers were definitely on the upswing by the time March came by. Perhaps the team was just keeping him fresh.
As for Halak, I had a feeling that the team was preparing him to replace Rask as the full-time goalie, but this obviously did not come to pass. Clearly, the team still values his talents, but the 34 year old might just be one of the league’s best backup goalies at this point. In the 2018-19 season, Halak was 22-11-4 with a .922 save percentage.
At 32, Rask is still the goalie of the Bruins’ future, but it never hurts to have a solid option like Halak in the wings.
Image via Wikimedia Commons / Lisa Gansky