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CBC’s Elliotte Friedman joined The Adam Jones Show between Games 3 and 4 of the Bruins-Penguins series, and after discussing the future of Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the Penguins, he discussed the player he considers to be the front-runner for the Conn Smythe Trophy, Tuukka Rask.
“I think it would be Rask. As good as [Patrice] Bergeron is, Rask’s numbers are disgusting,” Friedman said. “If I was to vote right now, he’d be my pick.”
Of course, an all-world performance must be rewarded with all-world money, and with Rask a restricted free agent at season’s end, the Bruins likely know they have no option but to pay Rask the big bucks.
“I think the Bruins and Rask had talks during the season, and I don’t think they went very well,” Friedman said. “I think the issue – and this is purely me guessing, because everybody is in the code of silence about – is that the Bruins at the time weren’t comfortable paying the numbers that Rask was asking for. I don’t think that’s a problem anymore.
“If you’re the Boston Bruins, you’re looking at this and saying, ‘This is the reality of our situation. He’s done this, he’s proven it, he has carried the mail, we’ll see where we’re still going here. But we’ve got to understand that if we want to keep Tuukka Rask, we’re going to have to do it probably at a seven- or eight-year deal at good money.’”
As for how much Rask gets, it’s hard to say. Pekka Rinne is the highest-paid goalie in terms of annual cap hit at $7 million per season for seven years. Henrik Lundqvist, widely considered the best goalie in the league, has a cap hit of $6.875 million, but that deal was signed before the 2008 season. Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, who is close to Rask in age, signed a 10-year, $58 million contract prior to the new CBA, which sets the maximum number of years for contracts at eight years when teams are re-signing their own free agent.
While Rask may not be at the very top of the goaltending money totem pole, he’s going to be high up there.
“I don’t know if it’s going to be seven years, $49 million like Pekka Rinne was, but you’re probably getting closer to that territory,” Friedman said. “And I think the Bruins understand that if they want to keep him, that’s what it’s going to cost.”