|'13-'14 Regular Season
In his first full season as The Guy in net for the Bruins, Tuukka Rask delivered. And then some.
After taking over for the departed Tim Thomas last year, Rask parlayed his one-year "show me" contract into an eight-year, $56 million contract. Entering the season, he was the most expensive goalie in hockey.
That's quite a bit of money and term to give a guy with about 140 games played. How'd Rask deliver on that deal?
Rask was just this week named the Vezina Trophy winner and it wasn't close. It's easy to see why.
Rask's 93% save percentage was about 1.9% better than the league average. While that may not seem like a huge gap, that's equivalent to having Henrik Lundqvist over Ondrej Pavelec. Seriously.
At even strength - a better indicator of goalie skill - he was even better, 2.2% over the league average. A gap for comparison? Sergei Bobrovsky to Pavelec.
In fact, his .7% lead over the next best goalie, Semyon Varlamov, was the largest of all starters. Simply put, he was dominant.
Let's take a trip down memory lane...
If there was any fault to be found with Rask, and believe me, there's not much, it's that he put up these ridiculous numbers behind the league's best team - notably Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara. It's something that have caused some to second guess just how much of it is his own doing.
That's really not Rask's fault though. He's only there to stop the puck and no one turned aside a greater percentage of shots than Tuukka.
In the playoffs, Rask was, again, the best goalie - although only by .1%...slacker. At even strength, though, he was on another level, though. A full 1.1% better than Lundqvist.
And yet, there was a segment of Bruins fans that felt Rask was to blame for the B's loss to Montreal. Admittedly, there was more than one goal he'd like to have back and he was sporting a disappointing 89.8% sv%.
It's important to remember, though that Montreal scored seven power play goals in the series. At even strength, Rask was up to a very competitive 92.9% sv%. Let's lay off the guy.
Evaluating Rask's season is really a formality. It should be unanimous that his grade is...
By the way, you'll note I didn't really cite any numbers besides save percentage. The fact of the matter is, beyond it, there's not much in the way of statistical metrics that reflect a goalie's quality. So deal.