- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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The 26-year-old Rask helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup finals against the Chicago Blackhawks this past season. He posted a 19-10-5 record, a 2.00 goals-against average, a .929 save percentage and five shutouts in 36 games during the regular season. During the Stanley Cup playoffs, he posted a 1.88 GAA and a .940 save percentage, including three shutouts.
In June 2012, Rask and the Bruins agreed on a one-year contract worth $3.5 million. The deal worked for both sides, and Rask earned a big payday Wednesday with his 2013 performance.
Since the Bruins acquired his rights via trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for goaltender Andrew Raycroft on June 24, 2006, Rask had been tagged as the goalie of the future in Boston. He made his pro debut with the Providence Bruins in 2007, and proved he had the ability to compete at a high level, posting a 27-13-2 record that season for the AHL affiliate.
Rask made his NHL debut for the Bruins in 2007-08 and posted a 2-1-1 record in four games. While Rask continued to hone his skills as a pro, Tim Thomas was the No. 1 goaltender in Boston. During the 2009-10 season, Thomas and Rask split time between the pipes. Down the stretch of the regular season, and with Thomas battling a hip injury, Rask took over and was the starter for the Stanley Cup playoffs. Rask and the Bruins defeated the Buffalo Sabres and world-class goalie Ryan Miller in the first round, then had a 3-0 series lead on the Philadelphia Flyers in the conference semifinals before dropping the next four games.
After having hip surgery to repair a torn labrum that offseason, Thomas regained the No. 1 job for the Bruins and captured the Conn Smythe Trophy [playoffs MVP] in leading Boston to the the Stanley Cup title in 2011.
In 2011-12, Thomas remained the Bruins' top goalie and Rask was limited to 23 games.
After a first-round loss to the Washington Capitals that season, Thomas decided to forego the final year of his contract with the Bruins to spend more time with his family. That meant the Bruins' goaltending progression plan needed to take effect a season earlier than planned, and Rask earned the job for the lockout-shortened 2013 season.
In 36 games this past season, Rask's 19 wins were tied for fourth in the NHL and his five shutouts were tied for first.
In 138 career NHL games, Rask has posted a 66-45-16 record with 16 shutouts, a 2.15 GAA and a .927 save percentage. In 35 career postseason games, he's 21-14 with a 2.15 GAA and a .930 save percentage, including three shutouts.
The Boston Bruins have signed restricted free-agent goalie Tuukka Rask to an eight-year contract worth $56 million, the team announced on Wednesday.