Boston Bruins: Tuukka Rask fittingly plays his 500th game against Toronto

BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 22: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins in the net for his 500th NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden on October 22, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images)
BOSTON, MA - OCTOBER 22: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins in the net for his 500th NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the TD Garden on October 22, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steve Babineau/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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Tuukka Rask played in his 500th career game for the Bruins. Funny enough, it was against the team that drafted him.

Tuukka Rask played his 500th game for the Boston Bruins on Tuesday night. Fittingly, Rask started against Toronto, the team that originally drafted him.

Toronto drafted Rask to be the goalie of the future in the first round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. However, before he could ever play a game for the Leafs, Toronto traded Rask to Boston for Andrew Raycroft.

At the time, Toronto considered Rask expendable because they also had Justin Pogge in the system. Rather than have two young goalie prospects, Toronto opted to trade one for an established NHL starter.

Unfortunately for Toronto, but fortunately for Boston, the Leafs chose the wrong guy.

Rask, after he made his debut in 2007, has become the most successful goalie in Bruins history. He won over 250 games so far, and he also led Boston to two separate trips to the Cup Final.

And how’s this for consistency: out of all goalies with at least 100 NHL starts, Rask is third in career save percentage with a .922 average.

What about Pogge? He played one season for Toronto and only appeared in seven games. He finished with one career victory. So, yeah, Toronto picked the wrong guy.

What’s most noteworthy is the fate of the two franchises after the Rask trade.

Since the trade, the Bruins have been one of the most successful franchises in the NHL. They have one championship, three trips to the Final, 10 playoff appearances, and a President’s Trophy.

Quality, consistent goaltending is the biggest reason behind Boston’s success. Whether it’s been Rask or Tim Thomas in net, the Bruins simply haven’t had to worry about goaltending.

The Leafs are on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. Toronto hasn’t had anything close to consistent goaltending, and the results prove it. They only have four playoff appearances since the Rask trade. In each appearance, Toronto lost in the first round.

To add even more salt to the wound, three of Toronto’s first round losses were against Bruins teams with Rask in net.

It’s crazy to see how Toronto’s decision to trade Rask to Boston became a lightning rod for both organizations. The Bruins got their franchise goalie, and this helped propel them to one of the most successful runs in team history.

Toronto, on the other hand, lost a potential franchise goalie and really hasn’t recovered since. Look no further than their playoff record.

Next. Dominant start for Pastrnak. dark

Rask won’t ever get the credit he deserves because of untimely failures in his Cup Final appearances. And rightfully so. But, fans who pile on Rask need to realize how lucky we’ve been to have consistently strong goaltending.

And if that doesn’t work, just look at Toronto.