The Boston Bruins might be better off without Tuukka Rask

Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins (Photo by Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images) /

The Boston Bruins have cooled off a bit recently after a torrid start to the 2022 calendar year, losing three of their last four games. Luckily, their recent stretch of dominance has given the team a little bit of room for error, and with the All Star break just one game away, the team will have another stretch to rest up for the second half of the season.

A lot has gone right for the Bruins in the month of January. They have gotten healthy again after a teamwide COVID outbreak ravaged their locker room, which has finally led to some consistency on the ice. That has led to some line combinations finally being figured out, with the biggest switch resulting in David Pastrnak getting moved off the “Perfection Line” to the second line.

But one move that hasn’t exactly panned out so far has been the re-signing of Tuukka Rask. There’s little risk with Rask’s deal, as he’s getting paid less than $1 million this season, but in his limited time on the ice, he hasn’t looked the part of an NHL goaltender. Rask’s arrival admittedly shook up a mediocre goalie room, but so far Rask’s addition to the team has only made the Bruins worse.

The Boston Bruins made a mistake bringing back Tuukka Rask

This may seem like a bit early to start calling for Rask’s head, although his many detractors probably beat me to the punch the moment he was signed. Rask has only played four games since his return, but the results haven’t been all that great. He’s posted a 2-2 record, but the two losses have been pretty ugly.

After winning his first start of the season against the Philadelphia Flyers, Rask got destroyed by the Carolina Hurricanes in his second outing. Rask only played the first period, but he managed to give up five goals in the frame despite facing just 12 shots on goal. The game was effectively over before it ever really began thanks to Rask’s poor outing.

Rask was better in his third game against the Winnipeg Jets, as he shook off a rough two goal first period to post a shutout over the final two frames, helping his team secure the comeback victory. But Rask was back to his ineffective ways in his second straight start against the Anaheim Ducks, as he let up five goals that ended up being too much for the B’s to handle.

It’s a small sample size, but Rask hasn’t look anything like the goalie Bruins fans have become used to seeing. He has posted a paltry .844 save percentage through four games, which just isn’t going to cut it. It’s fair to say Rask is going to need a couple of games to get back into the swing of things, but if that’s the case, why is he playing those games with the Boston Bruins instead of the Providence Bruins.

Not only has Rask been poor in his first few games, but he’s also displaced the supposed goalie of Boston’s future, Jeremy Swayman, from the roster. Swayman hasn’t been as good as he was when he was backing up Rask last season, but if he’s the future of the team, why give over his roster spot to an ineffective Rask?

Neither Swayman nor Linus Ullmark were doing much to make the goalie job their own before Rask showed up, and while Rask hasn’t done anything either, at least Swayman was getting some experience in the process. The Boston Bruins are definitely going to want to compete for the Stanley Cup this season, but at this point it remains to be seen whether that’s a realistic goal. If it isn’t, there’s no point in having Rask on the roster.

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There’s still a chance that Rask turns things around, but he’s almost 35 now, and he’s coming back from a major hip surgery he had this past offseason. There’s a decent chance that Rask’s best days are behind him.

While Rask’s upside is higher than that of Ullmark or Swayman, this team is probably better off rolling with those two as their goalie combo and hoping for the best at this point. Rask certainly has his place in Bruins lore, but his days with this team should be over unless something changes drastically over the next few games.