Iced Up Youngsters: Tuukka Rask


Tuukka Raskwas just a young back-up to reigning Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas. The Bruins were coming of a great regular season, and a disappointing playoff exit.  Fortunately for Tuukka, all of that unraveled, and they needed a change.  He proved to be the right man for the job.

Career Stats (Wins – Losses – SV% – SO)

  • 2007-2008: 2 – 2 – .886 – 0
  • 2008-2009: 1 – 1 – 1.000 – 1
  • 2009-2010: 22 – 17 – .931 – 5

His third season still counts as his rookie year because he didn’t play enough games in the previous two.  He pretty much came out of nowhere to take the top spot in Boston, and continue his stellar play midway into the 2nd round of the playoffs.

Profile: Rask is part of a growing trend in the NHL right now, Finnish goalies.  He spent a few seasons in the minors in Finland, before playing one season for the pro club, Ilves. In 2005 he was the top ranked European goalie heading into the draft, and was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs in the 1st round, 21st overall. The Leafs felt that they had a stockpile in net, and shipped him to Boston before ever giving him a chance. He spent a pair of seasons with the Providence Bruinsin the AHL, with a few brief call ups to the big club. In 2009-2010, with the B’s struggling, they made a change in net, giving him the starter’s job.  It was a shock, as the man he replaced, Tim Thomas, had won the Vezina Trophy the previous season. The Bruins salvaged their season, and rolled into the playoffs.  While some worried about his inexperience, he quieted the doubters as Bostonwon their first round matchup against the favored Buffalo Sabres.  They held a 3-0 series lead against the Philadelphia Flyers, before a historic collapse ended their season.

What makes him special: He’s a very calm goalie that doesn’t get rattled too much. He’s the type of guy that gets better and better as he faces more shots.  His rebound control is solid, as is his positioning. Sometimes he get’s caught out of the net trying to handle the puck, a skill he’ll need some work on. Still, because of his solid angles, he doesn’t give up many soft goals.  To beat him, you’d better have a screen, and have many, many players crashing the net on a consistent basis. He’s good down low when he drops to his knees, and he’s got some size, helping him cover a lot of ground.  The Bruinshave had a history of good goalies throughout their existence, will Rask be able to carry the torch, or is he just another flash in the pan?

Jersey Worthy: Goalies are generally a risk, so he’s a medium for this one. He took the top spot last season, but let’s wait and see how he does in 2010-2011. There’s not too many franchise guys around the league anymore, so unless he proves to be consistent, hold onto your wallet.

Hate factor: Eh, low. Not much a goalie can do unless they take a ton of cheap shots or dive a lot.  I haven’t seen much of that from him yet.

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