In a piece for ESPN Insider, Craig Custance looks at the play of Tuukka Rask and his contract situation with the Bruins. Rask, who is playing on a one-year, $3.5 million deal, is a restricted free agent after the season. Here is part of what Custance writes (to read, the whole piece, click here -- Insider access required):
In his first full season as the unquestioned No. 1 goalie in Boston with Tim Thomas completely gone, Rask continues to handle everything thrown at him with the same mix of confidence and composure that gave his teammates every reason to expect this is exactly how things would play out this season.
Heading into this shortened season, Rask was really the only question mark on a team that effectively rolls four lines and has one of the best defensemen in the game in Zdeno Chara. He was only a question mark to those outside the Boston dressing room. Inside, there was no doubt.
"He's a guy that I don't think I've scored on in practice the last two years," said Bruins forward Gregory Campbell said. "Everybody's known he's had the ability to be the No. 1 goaltender, he's patiently waited for his opportunity and really handled this situation well. He learned the most he could from Timmy and really is a guy supportive of everybody in the room and handled the success of the team well and put the success of the team ahead of himself."
Now comes the payoff -- in terms of recognition and, eventually, money. GM Peter Chiarelli has to find a way to keep his most important expiring contract. Rask, earning $3.5 million this year, is a restricted free agent after this season and getting him signed becomes one of the most crucial jobs for Chiarelli this season.
It won't be cheap.
Click HERE to read the full piece from Custance.