Boston Bruins: Trading Tuukka Rask could be a good move

Boston Bruins, Tuukka Rask #40 (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images)
Boston Bruins, Tuukka Rask #40 (Photo by John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins are having salary cap issues this offseason, trading goalie Tuukka Rask would help.

First and foremost, I am not saying the Boston Bruins should trade Tuukka Rask because he left the bubble to be with his family this postseason. I completely respect Rask’s decision — this opinion is solely based on what I think is best when it comes to the business part of the Bruins.

At 33 years old, Rask isn’t getting any younger and he may not be worth his $7 million cap hit anymore. With Rask being in his final year of an eight-year, $56 million deal that he signed in July of 2013, this might be a good time for the Bruins to trade him and get something.

Additionally, this is the first and only year of Rask’s contract in which he does not have any sort of no-movement clause (NMC) or no-trade clause (NTC). This means the Bruins have the freedom to trade Rask to whichever team gives them the best deal, instead of Rask choosing which team(s) he wants to go to.

When Rask signed this deal, he was just 27 years old and was starting at least 60 games a season. No, at 33, Rask isn’t expected to start more than 45 games in a season and hasn’t started more than 46 games in the last three years.

Furthermore, it’s not like the Bruins don’t have another goalie that is capable to start more than 40 games in a season. Jaroslav Halak started 54 games for the New York Islanders just two years ago in 2017-18 and started 40 games last year for the Bruins.

If this move was made, however, the Bruins would either have to bring up one of their young AHL goalies, like 23-year-old Dan Vladar, or acquire an established backup goalie via trade or free agency.

Free agent options include 36-year-old Jimmy Howard, 39-year-old Craig Anderson, and 40-year-old Ryan Miller. Options via trade include Buffalo Sabres’ 34-year-old Carter Hutton and Calgary Flames’ 28-year-old Louis Domingue.

What can the Boston Bruins get for Tuukka Rask?

Rask is still an all-star caliber goaltender as he lead the NHL in goals-against average (GAA) this past season with a 2.12. However, with just one season left on his contract and the uncertainty that he’ll continue to play after this season will decrease his value.

I don’t think the Bruins would be able to get a top-six forward or top-pairing defenseman for Rask unless they give up a highly-valued prospect along with Rask.

If the Bruins decided to trade Rask, it would be more likely that they receive a mid-round draft pick for the 2021 draft, a middle-six forward, or a second/third-pairing defenseman.

However, with the Bruins unloading Rask’s $7 million cap hit, this opens up the possibility of signing free agent right wing Mike Hoffman while also re-signing young left wing Jake DeBrusk and captain Zdeno Chara.

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Of course, trading a goalie of Rask’s caliber may cost the team some games over the course of the season, but being able to add the scoring of Hoffman and another reliable left-shot defenseman may be of more value than keeping Rask.