The Boston Bruins trade rumors surrounding Tuukka Rask just continue to swirl. The latest rumor, if true, all but confirms that Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney has been shopping Rask since not long after he told the media that he had ‘zero reservations’ about the 2020 Vezina Trophy finalist being back with the Bruins.
There’s increasing chatter that there has been a reversal of opinion on that topic internally and Frank Seravalli of TSN reported the following on the Rask situation in his latest ‘NHL Trade Bait’ column on Thursday:
‘Vezina Trophy runner-up Tuukka Rask debuts on the board at No. 10. Many were wondering if there would be fallout from Rask’s decision to leave the bubble for family reasons, a decision that was certainly supported by teammates. But multiple sources indicate that Bruins GM Don Sweeney has initiated conversations with teams about Rask’s market value over the last number of weeks.’
Note: In numerous calls to NHL sources over the last week, Rask’s name has come up more and more.
There hasn’t been much chatter on what caused the change of heart but if the Bruins trade Rask, it would be a heck of a 180 on what Sweeney said on September 9 when pressed on the future for Rask in Boston and in the NHL:
“I have zero reservations about where Tuukka will be both on and off the ice for us,” the Bruins GM said. “We feel we’ve had strong goaltending the last couple of years, we’ve done a good job of mapping out the health of both players and preserving when they’re at their best. We continue to want to do that going forward and I think we’re in a really good spot with our goaltending. We’ll address needs as we see them going forward.”
When pressed one more time?
“I have zero reservations,” Sweeney said again. “If you look at Tuukka’s actual play – I do believe he’s a Vezina finalist this year. For me, that pretty much dictates everything. Obviously, his own personal life, we all have matters that at times we have to deal with and he’s been given the opportunities in a couple of instances to make sure he feels good on and off the ice. I think any player, any manager, any person involved in a sport or in life would respect – has to respect that people have to tend to their own personal business. How he chooses to do that is his own decision and his alone.”
So what has happened since Sweeney and then just days later, Bruins Team President Cam Neely defended Rask and made it clear they expect the 2014 Vezina Trophy winner and winningest goalie in franchise history to be back with the Bruins next season? Did part of being ‘brutally honest’ as Neely promised him and Sweeney would be, lead to the realization that Rask’s time with the Bruins might need to end one year earlier than planned?
If that’s the case, Rask is part of a plethora of goalies available via trade or free agency. Could that decrease the value of a goalie many still see as elite? Apparently, that is what the Bruins are exploring as they contemplate trading away arguably the best goalie to ever don the Spoked B. If the Bruins trade Rask it will also be a major shakeup to a roster that can’t seem to get over the hump and win the Stanley Cup.
Sweeney is scheduled to speak to the media via Zoom on Monday morning in his annual pre-draft media availability a day before the first-ever virtual NHL Entry Draft takes place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The 2019 GM of The Year will surely be asked about Rask but will the question be ‘are you looking to trade Tuukka?’ or ‘Why did you decide to trade Tuukka?’