By: Patrick Donnelly
Since we have just passed by the halfway mark of the Bruins’ season, it seems appropriate to look back on and evaluate the performances of each player currently on the Bruins’ NHL roster. In this article, the two Bruins’ goaltenders will be graded.
As I right this article the Bruins sit ranked third-best in the NHL in goals-against per game with 2.62. As much as certain media pundits around this town may make it seem, goaltending has been of little concern for the Bruins, overall.
The route management took this offseason in this position has been a success so far. Here are my midseason grades for the Bruins’ goaltenders:
Jaroslav Halak: A-
Jaro Halak has wildly exceeded any expectations anyone had for him; here we are in January and Halak sits third in save percentage (.926) and fifth in GAA (2.46) among qualified goaltenders. Although his play has dipped for some stretches at times this season (hence the “minus” in A-), Halak has made Don Sweeney look like a genius with the $2.75-million cap hit he carries for this year and next. The 33-year-old Slovak has been crucial to the Bruins’ success, having been able to step in and take some of the load when Tuukka Rask has struggled. Halak will need to keep this up moving forward in the second half.
Tuukka Rask: B-
Tuukka has salvaged his grade with his strong play since coming back from his leave of absence. Over the last few weeks, Rask has played very well as he seems to be hitting his classic hot run he has each season. The 30-year-old now holds a .920 save percentage, well above the NHL average (.926 if you take out the opening night debacle). After starting out with save percentage of .875 through his first four games, Rask has played at a .930 clip since; his ability to continue to play well is going to be pivotal as the season pushes on.
As we move deeper into the second half, there is no pressing reason to stop platooning the two goaltenders like Head coach Bruce Cassidy has been doing. Rask is hitting his stride while Halak is still playing well overall.