Tuukka Rask signs eight-year, $56 million contract with Bruins

By Brian Stubits | CBSSports.com

Tuukka Rask was third in the league in save percentage this season. (USATSI)
Tuukka Rask was third in the league in save percentage this season. (USATSI)

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The Boston Bruins have re-signed goaltender Tuukka Rask to a monster new contract. The teamm announced on Wednesday Rask has a new eight-year deal worth $56 million, $7 million annually.

Rask was a restricted free agent after signing a one-year deal before this past season. It was essentially a prove-it contract for Rask as he was officially taking the starting role from the departed Tim Thomas. Rask proved it and then some with a terrific season, earning him the huge new deal.

Overall he went 19-10-5 with a GAA of 2.00 and a .929 save percentage with five shutouts, a spectacular season that got even better in the playoffs. His save percentage jumped to .940 and his GAA dropped to 1.88 that was aided by a dominant series against the Penguins where he allowed just two goals in the four-game sweep.

The one-year deal was a gamble but we can certainly say it paid off for him. It works out well for the Bruins too because they know they have an excellent goaltender, but it was costly. With cap space at a premium they had to say good bye to a few key players such as Tyler Seguin, Jaromir Jagr, Andrew Ference and Nathan Horton to help clear the space needed to sign Rask.

Now the gamble is strictly in the Bruins' court.

Any time you give a goaltender a huge contract it's a big risk because goalies tend to be pretty fickle players. They are often hard to pin down as predictable but Rask hasn't given much reason to doubt. He did lose his starting job once to Thomas a couple of years ago but he showed this season that's a thing of the past.

Still, to commit for eight years to a goalie when so much can happen is not the safest bet in the world. Naturally something can happen with any long-term deal no matter what position the player in question plays, but it just seems a bit riskier for a goalie with the way many of them tend to be streaky.

The bigger factor in this Rask deal is the money. We knew Rask was going to get a very good pay day and $7 million per season qualifies. It's not necessarily ideal to have a goaltender eating up that much of your salary cap space but in some cases you have to do what you have to do.

With the new $7 million cap hit, Rask joins Pekka Rinne in Nashville as the highest-paid goalie in the NHL, no goalie is eclipsing their salary cap hits.

There was just no way that Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli could let Rask walk at this point. He has himself an elite goaltender who proved how good he can be in the playoffs. Especially with Anton Khudobin leaving in free agency, there was little option, Chiarelli had to commit to re-signing Rask.

It's not like you have to twist a guy's arm to much to want to sign Rask, if he can continue to play the way he did this season, he's probably worth the money. That's the tricky part though, him continuing to play the same way.

Working in his and the Bruins' favor is the fact that he's still young at 26 -- at least in goalie years -- so you're talking about Rask being 34 when this contract runs up. This deal locks him up through his prime seasons and not beyond.

 
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