For now, the rumors surrounding Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, appear to be just that, rumors.
Speaking in his annual pre-NHL Draft press conference via Zoom, Sweeney did his best to silence the crescendo of trade rumors that has engulfed the status of Tuukka Rask as a Bruin for the last week. Sweeney was asked point-blank if Rask’s status with the team has changed since Sweeney last spoke to the media on September 9 and said he had ‘zero reservations’ about Rask being with the Bruins whenever training camp for the 2020-21 season begins?
“No. No,” Sweeney said. “As a matter of fact, our staff has communicated with Tuukka, and as I said before, he remains a big part of our roster planning going forward, because I think, by my knowledge, he was second in the Vezina balloting.”
Tuukka Rask (10 first place votes) did indeed finish second in Vezina Trophy voting to Winnipeg Jets goalie Connor Hellebucyk (19 first place votes). Rask was 26-8-6 with a 2.12 GAA and .929 save percentage in the regular season. He went 1-3-0 with a 2.57 GAA and .904 save percentage in the playoffs before leaving the NHL bubble in Toronto due to a family emergency prior to Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Despite a report last Thursday that claimed Sweeney had ‘initiated’ trade talks with other NHL GM’s, Sweeney once again made it clear just how much he and the Bruins value Rask. Given the uncertainty of when the upcoming season will begin and the fact that whether there is a shortened or full season, the scheduled will be condensed, Sweeney emphasized how important it will be for the Bruins to have a tandem like Rask and Jaro Halak, that just won the Jennings Trophy this past season.
“We’re very, very comfortable with where our goaltending’s at,” Sweeney said. “I think you’re going to need it. I don’t know what the schedule and what the season — I think there’s a lot of things that are up in the air. It could be a challenging environment from a season standpoint and might make the goaltending even more a big part of what you’ve got to have going forward.”
Should Sweeney and the Bruins change their mind and decide to trade Rask, they will be able to do so without any limitations. It was originally believed that Rask had a no-movement clause for this season that would have allowed him to submit a list of 15 teams he’d approve a trade to. However, as Dominic Tiano of OHLWriters.me discovered Sunday and tweeted, that no-movement clause expires this Friday. Rask is entering the final season of an eight-year, $56 million contract that carried an annual $7 million salary cap hit.