Coming off a Stanley Cup winning season, the Boston Bruins have their Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winning goaltender in Tim Thomas. Where does this leave Tuukka Rask? Some say he will be the future of the franchise as Thomas is getting older and has only a couple of significant years left.
Rask has proven that he can be a consistent No.1 goaltender for a contending team and may not want to wait on the bench to play. Would the Bruins ever trade him? Who would want a goalie that is young and is a proven winner?
Rask is in the final year of his contract and sitting on the bench doesn't help his stock. Would Rask ask for a trade at some point to get playing time and get his big contract past this season?
Here are ten teams that could make an offer for the Finnish goaltender.
The Lightning could use a player like Rask. They are in a similar position as the Bruins, however, Dwayne Roloson isn't comparable to Tim Thomas. Rask could win the net but with the recent signing of backup Mathieu Garon, this would seem unlikely for a while.
Don't count them out on this front as Roloson is going to be 42 and is only under a one-year deal at this point.
Staying in the south, the Florida Panthers could make a run for a No. 1 goaltender. They lost Tomas Vokoun to free agency and have signed Jose Theodore to a short-term deal. The Panthers need to get some salary built into their system and although Rask isn't the salary answer this season, can they nab the 24-year old?
More importantly, could Rask have the opportunity to prove his worth and get the long-term, high priced contract that Florida needs to stay over the league minimum for years to come without living in regret?
The Avalanche can use a No. 1 goaltender because Brian Elliot is not the answer for the future.
Rask would be a great fit for the Avs as they continue to search for their first star-caliber goaltender since Patrick Roy.
This could be a realistic possibility for the Western Conference team looking to come back after a horrible season and horrible finish. They didn't reach the basement of the Northwest Division but they may as well have.
What would Rask bring to this squad?
UPDATE: Colorado has made a trade to get Simeon Varlamov from Washington so that could be the Avs answer. However, keep in mind what Varlamov had done in Washington with a great team.
Okay, Devil fans, let me hear it. We all know Martin Brodeur will not be around forever and just like Boston, the Devils need a goalie for the future. With Brodeur's injury problems in the last number of years, can Rask be the guy to pick up the slack?
They had a great finish to the season but it wasn't enough for the Devils to make the playoffs.
There may need to be some moves made and some salary moving the other way for this to happen and for the Devils to have the room to make a long-term deal for Rask but should the Devils pull the trigger?
Another Western Conference team with a veteran goaltender. The Oilers and Nikolai Khabibulin have not exactly been a match made in heaven. having a 10-32-3 record last season. With only two years left on a four-year deal, will Khabibulin be the answer going forward or will the Oilers need to make a move?
There is a youth movement in Edmonton and Devan Dubnyk may not necessarily be the answer.
Players like Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins are the core of a movement in Alberta that could lead toward a playoff berth. They need a young goalie and Rask could be that guy.
What would the Oilers need to give up to get Rask? Would their first-round pick be involved?
It will probably never happen but after the Stanley Cup meltdown of Roberto Luongo, could the Canucks deal with the team that destroyed their Stanley Cup aspirations?
At 32, Luongo has plenty of years left but he has shown himself to be a playoff choke artist. It's not to say that Luongo is useless in Vancouver but with everything that went down in the Cup Final, there are a few questions to ask on Luongo's consistency.
Don't shoot me Canuck fans, it is merely speculation and keep in mind, if Gretzky can get traded, anybody can, even Luongo.
This would mean that the Canucks would have to clear some space but if Luongo remains, Rask would be right back to square one, a backup goaltender.
It felt like a goaltender carousel in Long Island last season with all the injuries.
Rick DiPietro hasn't played more than 30 games since the 2007-08 season and are still mired by the 15-year, $67.5 million deal he signed for in 2006.
This wouldn't put Rask where he wants to be but with DiPietro's injury riddled campaigns, Rask is sure to get more playing time than what he is sure to get in Boston.
Do the Islanders have enough assets to offer Boston for Rask?
One of the scariest things seen on-ice happened last season to Ondrej Pavelic. His on-ice collapse sent a hush throughout the NHL.
Sure, this shouldn't be enough for the Jets to look for a new goalie but if something like this happens again, is Chris Mason the goalie you want to ride in a new city?
Imagine the buzz in Winnipeg if they were to acquire a player like Rask. Is this possible?
Is Craig Anderson the goalie that Ottawa needs for the future?
Keep in mind, we thought the same thing of Pascal Leclaire and Ray Emery and Sens fans know where that ended up.
What if Anderson follows suit? Could Rask be a cheap answer in Ottawa? Is Mike Brodeur or Curtis McElhinney suitable backups?
If Rask were added to the mix, what could be bring to the team? Would Brodeur or McElhinney go the other way to the Bruins?
Niklas Backstrom is a great goalie but it isn't enough for the Wild. The NHL is about to change and the Wild, who were once a mainstay in the playoffs, now play golf by the beginning of April.
With two years left on a four-year deal, can Backstrom prove he is worth the $6 million cap hit in Minnesota and if not, where do the Wild go?
Rask could provide young blood and a playoff push for the Wild, a team that hasn't made the postseason since the 2007-08 season.
There it is, ten teams that could make a move for a young goaltender of the future in Tuukka Rask. Again, I can't stress enough that this is all speculation on my part and I urge you to give me some feedback on what you think the Bruins can do with Rask.
Sure, they could keep him and allow him to wait out for Tim Thomas to finish his career but in the NHL, there are plenty of things that can happen.
All I ask is that you be respectful in the comments page and give legitimate and intelligent thoughts on the subject.