State of the Bruins: Goaltending

Tuukka Rask: The 2014 Vezina Trophy winner has had a rough last two seasons. While it may not necessarily show in the statistics, Rask has clearly regressed in the last two seasons. The play in front of him has been pretty suspect to say the least and he has been heavily relied upon which has led to him being used in 134 out of a possible 164 games in the last two seasons combined. This number should never ever be that high even for the best goalies in the game. One of the Bruins biggest needs the last few seasons have been a solid backup goalie that can make around 25 starts in a season. Jonas Gustavsson did a good job last year that took a little pressure off Tuukka but with how bad the defense has been at times recently, Rask has been under more pressure than any other goalie in the league. For him to improve, the defensive group in front of him needs to be better so Tuukka’s not being relied upon too much. It’s not even the total games that’s tough, it’s the fact that the Bruins spent so much time in their own end last season and had to spend so much energy to get the puck out of the zone that Tuukka had to be on guard that whole time, which during the course of a game and a season can add up exponentially. For the Bruins to be successful, Rask can’t be heavily relied upon to be the savior in their own zone. The defense has to step up namely the younger players, so that Tuukka isn’t fearing for his life. If the Bruins can have Rask play about 55-60 games next season, expect him to be at his best.

Anton Khudobin: A familiar face is always good to see, especially when the playing ability is still there. Khudobin had been the Bruins backup goalie during the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season and had been playing for Providence for parts of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 seasons. This guy is familiar with playing in Boston and familiar with the coaching staff. There honestly couldn’t have been a better candidate to be the B’s main backup to Tuukka. This is a guy that has played over 30 games in a season a few times and is the perfect player for the Bruins to put their faith in when Rask is not available. Granted, Khudobin’s numbers aren’t great when he played in Carolina but when you consider the quality of those Hurricane teams and the lack of scoring you can understand why his numbers aren’t stellar. Look for Khudobin to take pressure off of Rask this season and hopefully play up to 25 games. If the defensive play improves in front of both players, this could be one of the best goaltending groups in the entire league.

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