The Boston Bruins took a risk by signing Tuukka Rask to only a one-year contract before this past season, essentially making it a "prove it" campaign for the goaltender. Despite a struggle to finish out the Stanley Cup Final, Rask just finished a season that more than proved it -- it being that he's worth the money and worthy of being Boston's No. 1 goaltender.
Now that the season is over, it's time to pay the man. It won't be a short deal this time, so it's not going to be cheap, either. Rask is going to get paid.
What exactly is the jumping-off point for a new deal? What kind of money can we expect to see for Rask? From Joe Haggerty of CSN New England:
According to a source with knowledge of the negotiations between Tuukka Rask and the Boston Bruins, the six-year, $39 million contract the Canadiens gave Carey Price "is the starting point for negotiations" with Rask and agent Bill Zito. That means Rask will be commanding at least $6.5 million per season moving forward.
One has to wonder if Rask has it in mind that he wants to match or surpass the seven-year, $49 million contract signed by fellow Finnish goaltender Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators two summers ago. If he were to get that kind of deal with the Bruins, it would make him the only player on the team to receive more than the $6.9 million salary Zdeno Chara is set to make for each of the next four seasons.
General manager Peter Chiarelli knew what he was doing when he signed Rask to just a one-year contract last summer as a restricted free agent. And, believe it or not, he said this season that he'll be happy to pay Rask more money, even if the Bruins are going to be pretty tight under the salary cap.
If Rask does indeed end up with a deal like Price's or even with more money attached -- remember, that's a starting point -- then he's going to be paid like a top-three goaltender in the league. Here are the comparables for Price's deal on CapGeek.
It's not like Rask is far off from being a top-three goalie in the NHL; at least this season he wasn't far off. His .940 save percentage in the postseason was the best among goalies. In the regular season, he was a .929, third best in the NHL. He had a stellar campaign for the Bruins and could have easily been a finalist for the Vezina Trophy.
It would be way too hard for the Bruins to let Rask go at this point, so they have little option but to pony up. That said, paying a lot of money for goalies isn't always the best approach.