Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask didn't have an ideal end to the 2019-20 NHL season, but there's no question that from a statistical standpoint it was one of his best years.
Rask posted a 26-8-6 record with a 2.12 goals against average and a .929 save percentage. Those were his best GAA and save percentage numbers since 2013-14.
The veteran netminder finished second in Vezina Trophy voting behind Connor Hellebuyck of the Winnipeg Jets.
The 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs didn't last long for Rask. He left the team and the league's Toronto bubble before Game 3 of the first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes to be with his family.
NHL Network over the last few weeks has been unveiling its top 20 players at each position going into the upcoming 2020-21 season.
The top goalie ranking was released Sunday. Here's the top 10 of that list:
- Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning
- Tuukka Rask, Bruins
- Connor Hellebuyck, Jets
- Ben Bishop, Stars
- Jordan Binnington, Blues
- Carey Price, Canadiens
- Darcy Kuemper, Coyotes
- Robin Lehner, Golden Knights
- Jacob Markstrom, Flames
- Anton Khudobin, Stats
This is a pretty fair ranking. Some Bruins fans might be surprised to see Rask rated so high. The reality is Rask arguably was the best goalie in the regular season and probably should've won the Vezina instead of Hellebuyck.
Some Bruins fans will point to his playoff resume and what happened in Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final as evidence that Rask shouldn't be ranked No. 2, even though the entire team played poorly in that game against the St. Louis Blues. Let's also remember Rask has the second-best career playoff save percentage among active goaltenders.
Regardless of which side of the Rask debate you fall on, there's no question the 2020-21 season is a huge one for the 33-year-old goalie. He's entering the final year of his contract with unrestricted free agency awaiting him in 2021. It's also a very important year on the ice because the Bruins' current core probably has one more deep playoff run left in it.
The Bruins have not had a very good offseason, and there's still a large hole on the blue line with Torey Krug gone and Zdeno Chara still unsigned. Luckily for the Bruins, they still have the best goaltending tandem in the league, and Rask is the key part of that.