SCOC Rating: 6.7
Reader Rating: 6.2
While Jaroslav Halak’s time with the Bruins has come to an end, it’s hard to call it anything but a success.
Signed to be a reliable back-up to Tuukka Rask, the Slovakian netminder was all of that and more during his tenure with the B’s. He wasn’t likely to be back with the team next season regardless, but it’s a shame that his last season with the B’s had to be a relatively down year for Halak.
Just to get it out of the way: Halak wasn’t bad. Both our staff and you, the fine readers, agreed, giving Halak an above-average rating.
However, we can all agree that it was Halak’s worst year as a Bruin, and the stats bear that out. If you go back to Halak’s first season in 2018-2019, he was a rock-solid back-up, reliably putting up strong, sometimes game-stealing performances in relief of Rask. His stats were similarly strong last year, and he combined with Rask to win the Jennings Trophy.
In both of those seasons, you felt good with Halak between the pipes. You were pretty confident in what kind of performance you were going to get, and that confidence was what allowed the B’s to regularly rest Rask.
Last season, Halak’s game as a lot more uneven: he had five games with a sub-.825 save percentage, and ten games under .900. In the end, that’s likely what a lot of us were reacting to: a lot more of those “yikes!” games, which we hadn’t expected to see from Halak.
Still, he had his high points as well. He had a strong 27-save shutout of the feisty Rangers back in March, and put together four wins in a row from late January into February.
I think the best indicator of his performance last season was the reaction to him signing elsewhere, which was a collective “yeah, makes sense. Good luck.”
Ultimately, Halak’s time with the Bruins will be remembered fondly.
He was an admirable back-up who occasionally pushed hard to take over the number-one role, and played a key role in allowing the Bruins to get everything they could out of Rask.
Thanks for three years, and best of luck in Vancouver.