It was announced this morning that Boston Bruins goaltender, Tuukka Rask, has opted out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The announcement comes hours before puck drop of Game Three against the Carolina Hurricanes.
#NHLBruins goalie Tuukka Rask has opted out of the NHL's Return to Play: pic.twitter.com/r3c7wjaTwR
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) August 15, 2020
Tuukka Rask Opts Out of Playoffs
In a statement released by the veteran net minder, Rask has sited needing to be with his family. Back home, Rask has two young daughters and third child on the way. In his replacement, backup goaltender Jaroslav Halak will take over the starting role. This shift also gives Bruins goalie prospect, Daniel Vladar, a shot to prove his worth this postseason.
Rask was a Jennings Trophy winner and Vezina finalist this season. In 41 games during the regular season, Rask out up a .929 save percentage and a 2.12 goals-against-average. In his four starts in the bubble, Rask posted a .904 save percentage and 2.57 goals-against average.
What This Means Going Forward
Halak is not much of a downgrade from Rask for the team. Each season he has been hailed as one of the league’s best backups. In 29 starts for Boston this season, the Czechoslovakia native put up .919 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against-average. For a team’s second option, those numbers are pretty good. During the regular season, in Rask’s absence, Halak was able to provide a similar edge in between the pipes to give the team another 18 wins on their Presidents Trophy season.
Vladar hasn’t seen his first NHL game yet, but he will most likely back up Halak during the remainder of the playoffs. in 25 games for the team’s AHL affiliate, he put up a 1.76 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage. Needless to say, if Halak is unable to play a game at any point on the remainder of their run, Vladar is more than capable of rising to the occasion. Halak will likely get the start for Game Three of their first round matchup against Carolina at noon Eastern Standard Time on August 15.