Since being traded to the Boston Bruins in 2005 as a young goaltender from Finland, 24-year old Tuukka Rask has been in Tim Thomas's shadow for several years. While the two now split time in the goal, the majority of the starts and all of the playoff starts have gone to Thomas, who guided the Bruins to their first Stanley Cup Title in over twenty years.
Rask and Thomas have been critically acclaimed as the best goaltender tandem in all of the NHL this season. In 13 games in net this season, Rask is 8-4-0 and owns the best goal against save percentage in all of the NHL this season. At the end of this season, Rask is scheduled to hit free agency, where he could search for a starting job elsewhere. Seems like it's quite a longshot he comes back to serve as Timmy's backup again, right? Think again.
On Tuesday, Rask was asked about his future with the team, and he made it quite clear that he wants to remain with the Bruins for many years to come.
"I haven't really put a lot of thought into it, but he's [Thomas] got a year left on his contract and mine is up obviously, but I want to stay here. I'm sure they have a plan for that too and it will all work out good. I'm a young guy and I want to have a long future ahead of me as a Bruin and make more good things happen for the team and our fans." (via ESPN Boston)
Rask is a restricted free agent, which that the Bruins have the opportunity to match any contract offer another team may submit to him. If I'm the Bruins, I match any offer that comes Rask's way and maybe even exceed it. Tim Thomas may be the goaltender of now, but Tuukka Rask is the future; a future that is very, very bright in Boston.