Tuukka Rask of the Boston Bruins has now officially entered the ranks of the highest-paid goaltenders in the NHL. He was signed to a huge eight-year deal worth a total of $56 million or a $7 million cap hit each year. Rask’s deal is now the largest in Bruins history, eclipsing the previous largest (Zdeno Chara‘s) by a $10.5 million margin.
This isn’t the single largest contract for a goalie–his fellow countryman Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators also holds a $7 million cap hit, though his deal is seven years long, while Jonathan Quick of the Los Angeles Kings is on the hook for a $7 million salary (but a $5.8 million hit) in a 10-year deal. This also isn’t the longest contract for a goalie. The Vancouver Canucks‘ Roberto Luongo holds that dubious honor with his dozen-year contract.
But contract lengths in excess of eight years are disallowed in the new CBA, so Rask is basically getting the maximum he can get. Coming off a cap-strapped year where he signed a one-year deal to prove himself and then had an altogether great season where he often saved the Bruins’ bacon and got them to two wins away from another Stanley Cup, this is quite a tidy prize. All this after being the unused backup during the 2011 Stanley Cup run, when he was on a $1.5 million cap hit!
Long-term contracts can be risky, but they’re often pretty much required when it comes to keeping and growing goalie talents. It’s just the cost of doing business in sports.
Speaking of costs, the Bruins now have negative cap space, according to Capgeek. Teams are not allowed to go into opening day with negative cap space, so between now and October, there will need to be some more tinkering on the part of general manager Peter Chiarelli and the team brass so as to become cap compliant. It remains to be seen how he will achieve this, but he will find a way.
As for Bruins fans, get ready to keep up those chants of “Tuu-kka!” and “Tuuk!” when appropriate during home games. There will be many more saves like these for years to come:
(You can really go down a rabbit hole of just watching incredible Rask saves on YouTube–and doing so is, in fact, highly recommended.)