First, I will say Tim Thomas has made me eat my words. An outstanding season from Tim Thomas & I have never been so happy to have to eat crow. I was all for trading him in the season to save money & address other team weaknesses but he has continued his stellar play deep intothe playoffs & he deserves credit for being a huge part in the current Bs success.
However, the Bruins brass are in a tough spot right now because they simply can’t forget how good Rask was in 2009/2010 & how good he maybe going forward.
There is no way they can expect Rask to be a backup for another season. Rask has to think about his career & contract. From all accounts he was a great teammate all season behind Thomas & is heading into his RFA season & will certainly want to cash out at the end of next season since he is really on a team friendly contract right now. Another season as backup will prevent him from possibly achieving solid numbers to help him get a better deal as a RFA. It could also hurt his development as he is not getting the playing time that he would be getting on another team.
As good as Thomas’ numbers have been some people forget how good Rask was last season. His numbers were very similar to Thomas’ numbers this season. He did that as a 22 year old. Lets also not forget Rask didn’t have the same team in front of him in last years regular season & playoffs that Thomas had this season. Rask didn’t have Seidenberg who has probably been the Bs best defenseman in the playoffs. The team also lost there best player (Krejci) in the 2nd round & had a player who was a shell of his former self as an offensive goto guy in Savard. Rask carried the Bs into the 2nd round after it was apparent Thomas wasn’t getting it done.
Lets also not forget how the Bs & there coach pretty well took the starting job away from him after one game in Prague where the whole team was terrible. Then Thomas came in and played great & Rask had trouble getting back into a groove & the net after that. The fact that he never got a fair opportunity to compete early in the season must be in the back of his mind. I know it would be in mine.
To expect him to sit & wait in Boston for Thomas to retire is simply unrealistic & unfair to him. It makes no sense for him to possibly stagnate a promising career because he is behind Thomas. If the Bs decide that they are sticking with Tim Thomas going into 2011/2012 then they should give Rask an opportunity elsewhere to allow him an opportunity to progress into his career & bring in additional assets. You can’t play forever in this league & wasting 2 years when he could be a starter elsewhere is simply not in Rask’s best interest & shortens the window of opportunity in his NHL career. I would certainly understand him asking for a trade this offseason if the Bruins plan on staying with Tim Thomas going forward. He has to take care of his career & I would have no ill feelings toward him if that was what he requested.
But given both guys numbers over the last 2 seasons as linked below I think both have benefitted from Juliens defensive system & the fact that both goalies have the top defensive defenseman in the game in Chara playing in front of them. It is kind of ironic that the Bs have had 2 guys in the last 2 years put up sensational & very similar numbers. I feel neither would have the numbers they had in a different system under a different coach. I feel Claude is beneficial to goalie numbers & team defense numbers but hinder’s personal offensive stats & team offence.
I don’t mean to diminish either guys numbers as both have proven they are solid goalies. Personally, I would stick with Rask after this year & attempt to move Thomas while his value is so high. I certainly understand others wanting to keep Thomas considering the year he has put up. There is an arguement for both sides.
Given the fact of Thomas’ age & the fact that Rask makes less money & has already shown he can put up similar numbers to Thomas on a lesser team in the same system I would stick with Rask & pass the ball to him in 2011/2012. There is to much of a chance of him being a solid goalie for the next 10 years to gamble on Thomas for the sake of the next 2 years.
I realize people will say lets keep both & that is the way it may play out. But personally, I see this situation coming to a head in the offseason regardless if the Bs win the cup or not.
This is not meant to be blast Thomas or blast Rask thread. But I certainly think it will be worthy of discussion going into the offseason. Just looking for a discussion on how the Bs should proceed with this issue which will be the elephant in the room come next week.