On June 24, 2006, seven years ago to the day, a trade went down between the Maple Leafs and Bruins whose repercussions will be felt for years to come: Andrew Raycroft for Tuukka Rask, straight up.
According to Peter Chiarelli, who spoke on the trade before the Finals started, the Leafs tried to pressure the Bruins into accepting Jiri Tlusty for Andrew Raycroft. That probably still would have been a decent trade, considering how ridiculously awful Raycroft continued to be, but instead -- well, here we are in the Stanley Cup Finals seven years later, mostly thanks to Rask.
We highlighted Andrew Raycroft's illustrious Maple Leafs career last month, but it's worth a re-visit. On the flip side, here are some highlights of Rask's career as a Bruin over the last few years:
Tuukka Rask Hates AHL Shootouts
Rask carried his AHL Bruins to the Conference finals this year (2008-2009). Pretty good.
Tuukka Rask: Better than an uninjured Manny Fernandez
In 2007-2008, Rask and Fernandez played in the same number of games for the Bruins (four). Rask was 20, Fernandez was 33; each won two games, but Rask had better numbers. Bonus: Rask beat Toronto in his NHL debut. The following season, Rask stepped up while Fernandez was injured and earned his first shutout in just his fifth NHL game - a 1-0 defeat of the New York Rangers. And it was awesome.
Highlight Video from Rask's first full NHL Season
With the departure of Manny Fernandez after the 2008-2009 season, Rask stepped into the role of backup in 09-10...and quickly took over the starting role when Tim Thomas got hurt. He helped take the Sabres out in 6 games in the first round of playoffs, and held his own despite massive team injuries in the second round.
Tuukka Rask Makes Amazing Saves
He's had the same design on his mask for 5+ years now
Every time Rask gets a new mask design, he loses a game, then immediately goes back to his usual rabid bear mask design. He's had a few cool ones surface, too; they never last long. He'll probably have the glittery tag-style "Rask" on his chin until the end of time.
He once tried to fight Cam Ward
AND IT WAS AWESOME
He's a lovable little weirdo
Rask is just a bizarre guy. Remember when he wore Nathan Horton's helmet for like three days after they won the Cup?
Happy anniversary of becoming a Bruin, Rask! Let's win a game tonight to celebrate. Maple Leafs fans: um, at least you guys chose to celebrate the almost-anniversary by making another dumb goalie trade? Hooray?