Coming into the offseason, Boston’s front office knew they had to resign goalie Tuukka Rask to a long-term deal. Also on the to-do list was locking up Patrice Bergeron for the rest of his prime. These were two players the majority of the league would kill to have in their locker rooms, so it was important for management to keep them in Boston.
On Wednesday, the Bruins signed Rask to a huge eight-year, $56-million contract, ensuring he stays between the pipes in Boston until 2021. To follow this, Boston GM Peter Chiarelli gave another eight-year contract to Bergeron, worth $52 million. Now, along with captain Zdeno Chara, the Bruins have three of their biggest corner stones sewn up for a long, long time.
Looking at Rask’s contract, its not surprising there are a few who are hesitant about the length of the term. One needs to look no further than the mammoth deals thrown in the past to players like Rick DiPietro or Roberto Luongo to know that a lengthy deal is always a huge risk for a goalie. The last thing Boston wanted to do was get cash-strapped into a deal while someone’s under-performing in net.
However, with Rask comes a different story. The Bruins starting netminder isn’t coming off his first stellar year. Rask has been a consistent member of the team since 2009, and his numbers have been solid throughout the past four years. He also has two years worth of playoff experience.
In addition to this, the new contract is exactly what the Bruins were hoping to give Rask when they signed him to a one-year deal last offseason. By throwing him a “show me” contract in attempts to avoid those painfully bad deals mentioned above, Boston gave itself a low risk, high reward situation. As a result, they watched Rask post incredible numbers in the regular season, then look even better in the postseason. Gripe all you want, Rask has earned both the money and the length of his new deal. We all know, if in the open market, he probably would’ve been offered even more.
On the other hand, you can’t complain one bit about resigning Bergeron. A member of the Bruins since he was 18, Bergeron will now be with the team that drafted him for possibly the rest of his career. With an annual cap hit at just $6.5 million a year, its certainly not a deal that will tighten Chiarelli’s wallet in future offseasons.
But in terms of meriting such a contract, there’s zero doubt whatsoever. Bergeron is a player teams dream of having on their roster. Offensively skilled, a faceoff dynamo and arguably one of the best defensive forwards in the league, even the idea of getting rid of him is laughably awful. Facts are facts, Bergeron is Bruins hockey defined.
In two days, Boston re-signed a franchise goalie and, quite possibly, the franchise’s best player. Make no mistake, whatever the team did in the trade or free agency markets, getting Bergeron and Rask under contract was priority No. 1. In doing so, the Bruins are winners this offseason.