Tuukka Rask: Up to the Task

Mark MarinoSenior Analyst IJanuary 31, 2009

Tuukka Rask stood on his head and stopped all 35 shots this afternoon, earning his first NHL career shutout this afternoon, 1-0, over the New York Rangers.

The Boston netminder was absolutely sensational today. And for all you newly-acquired Bruins fans out there, this 21 year old is our future.

Rask was recalled from the AHL Providence Bruins to fill in for the ailing Manny Fernandez, as Tim Thomas has started the last eight Bruins contests.

Marc Savard scored his 19th goal of the season—a deflection late in the second period that ending up being the game winner. But the story of the day was the Finnish sensation, No. 40, Tuukka Rask.

The Bruins are heading north of the border tonight, as they take on the Montreal Canadiens, Sunday night.

Rask was acquired from the Toronto Maple Leafs back in June, 2006, in exchange for former Calder Trophy winner, goaltender Andrew Raycroft.

Although Boston is enjoying this historical season—thus far—the hot topic surrounds the trade deadline, and whether or not Thomas or Fernandez will be back next season.

Both goalies are unrestricted free agents and are certainly deserving of playing everyday as a no.1 with the type of seasons' they are having. But with the salary cap being an issue, Boston can only afford one, if any.

So far, the rumors are pointing in the direction of Thomas. A ballpark estimation; it would cost the Bruins approximately $5-million per year, for the next two to three years.

Another rumor has Manny Fernandez being a top free agent come the trade deadline. I respectfully disagreed with this one, up until today.

Rask is the Bruins number one prospect down with the AHL Providence Bruins.

This year in Providence, he posts a record of 27-13, along with a 2.33 GAA and .905 SV%. He was 2-1-1 in four starts with Boston last year—and with an outing like he had today, it's a pretty good start to the 2008-09 season.

We can all breath easy after the March 4 trade deadline. The rumors and trade-talks can finally go away, and we won't have to contemplate the 2009-10 season until late June.

Whether or not we see Fernandez or Thomas back again next year, the future looks bright with Tuukka Rask.