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Tuukka Rask will enter the season without a safety net

Boston Bruins v Winnipeg Jets

WINNIPEG, CANADA - FEBRUARY 17: Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins keeps his eye on the puck during a game against the Winnipeg Jets in NHL action at the MTS Centre on February 17, 2012 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. (Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images)

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Back in 2006, the Toronto Maple Leafs traded away goaltending prospect Tuukka Rask to the Boston Bruins in exchange for Andrew Raycroft. It’s already clear how one-sided that trade was, but by the time Rask’s career is over, it might be regarded as one of the worst deals in the history of the Maple Leafs franchise (and that’s saying something).

Rask has already emerged as one of the most promising young goaltenders in the NHL and for years it’s been apparent that he’s been overqualified for the backup job. The question now is if Rask is capable carrying the Boston Bruins and simultaneously filling the shoes of a two-time Vezina Trophy winner.

The Bruins, perhaps due to their tough salary cap position, did not sign a veteran backup to take some of the heat off of Rask. Should he fail, their main alternative is Anton Khudobin, who has a mere seven NHL games under his belt.

It’s definitely a risk and one that will define the Bruins season. However, it’s not a bad one to take.

Handing the reins over to Rask was the logical next step for this franchise to take. They were probably hoping that Tim Thomas would assist in that transition next season -- as opposed to taking a year off and sticking the Bruins with his cap hit -- but the situation could be far worse. It’s not every team that can lose a goaltender like Thomas and still look like a Cup contender.