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.
In slightly less interesting Los Angeles Kings news than the latest in the Mike Richards fiasco, the team handed Peter Budaj a one-year, two-way deal on Friday.
The veteran goalie’s contract pays $575K on the NHL level and $100K in the AHL (though it’s $150K guaranteed), according to Hockey’s Cap.
At the moment, it sounds like Budaj will be third on the Kings’ goalie depth chart. That says as much about how things have been going lately for Los Angeles than Budaj’s work on a PTO.
As noted above, one of the more significant moves in Budaj’s favor came when the New York Islanders claimed Jean-Francois Berube off of waivers this week.
The Kings actually waived Budaj before signing him, so this has to be a relief to a goalie with a fairly robust resume as a backup.
All apologies to Budaj, but it’s probably true that the Kings would prefer not to see him at the NHL level very often in 2015-16.
The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”
The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.
The NHLPA released a similar statement.
It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.
We’re starting to find out some details now:
How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?