Tuukka Rask

Report: ‘Starting point’ for Rask’s new deal is six years, $39 million


Last summer, the Boston Bruins signed Tuukka Rask to a one-year, $3.5 million extension — a “prove-it deal” designed for the Finnish netminder to show he was capable of carrying the No. 1 gig.

Well, Rask proved it.

And now he wants to get paid.

According to CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, the starting point for Rask’s extension negotiations with Boston is for $39 million over six years — an average annual cap hit of $6.5 million.

In terms of cap hit, the deal would tie Rask with Carolina’s Cam Ward for the third highest among active goalies.

The only ones earning more annually are Nashville’s Pekka Rinne ($7 million per) and New York’s Henrik Lundqvist ($6.875 million per).

Rask holds plenty of clout following a banner 2013 campaign.

He’s only 26, and coming off a year in which he went 19-10-5 during the regular season with a .929 save percentage and 2.00 GAA, then got even better in the playoffs, going 14-8 with a .940 save percentage and 1.88 GAA.

What’s more, Bruins don’t really have another option.

Anton Khudobin was a serviceable backup last season, though few figure he’s capable of handling an NHL starting gig. Malcolm Subban, taken in the first round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, is years away from being able to compete for the job.

(UPDATE: This section should also include mention of Niklas Svedberg, the 23-year-old Providence product that won AHL goalie of the year for 2012-13.)

So, Rask is coming back. The question is at what price.

Boston is tight up against the cap — just $5.8 million in space with 18 players signed — but will essentially do whatever it takes to retain Rask, who may have been the club’s MVP this season.

What a hefty price tag could mean, however, is less money to offer pending UFA Nathan Horton.

The B’s also need to start looking toward an extension for Patrice Bergeron — a UFA following 2013-14 — and what they plan to do with Dennis Seidenberg, who also goes unrestricted next summer.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.

Latest report leaves Carey Price’s injury timeline fuzzy

Carey Price
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There’s one thing we seem to know about Carey Price‘s injury situation: he first got hurt stepping on a puck on Oct. 29, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Contrary to earlier reports about him missing about a month, it sounds like his window of recovery is still up in the air (which, to be fair, could mean that he’ll still miss about a month when it’s all said and done).

ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun reports that Price underwent testing with Montreal’s team doctor on Saturday and is expected to go through more; we may not know more about his expected injury timeline until early this coming week.

So, basically, Price’s situation is fuzzier than his mustache right now.

Leg injuries can be tricky anyway, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that there are mixed signals regarding Price, and this may remain a fluid situation for some time.

(But we’ll hopefully know more soon enough.)