Bruins Signing of Rask Doesn’t Address More Glaring Needs

Tuukka Raska signed a free agent contract Tuesday to return to the Boston Bruins. Rask is currently recovering from offseason hip surgery. This is a one year deal. Although it is a great addition to coach Bruce Cassidy’s team, the deal does not address the bigger issues the Black and Gold face. While Rask will be a good addition, Don Sweeney, general manager of the Black and Gold, still has a lot to do to get them to the playoffs.

Rask Solidfy’s Goaltending

Are the Bruins really going to need Rask? One argument could be made for Rask’s inclusion in the team, as they can do without rookie Jeremy Swayman or a free agent. Linus Ullmark was a great player, but Rask’s talent is an obvious addition. It’s even more of a no-brainer when you consider that the NHL calendar is in January and having a three-goalie rotation that you feel comfortable with is a win-win situation.

Tuukka Rask, Boston Bruins (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers

Swayman’s record this season is 8-2 with a 2.26 goals against average and a.918 save rate (SV%). The 23-year old was an instant star and many wondered if he could continue that feat this season. However, the Bruins have been keeping their eyes on the Eastern Conference playoff race and the 23-year-old is a major reason.

Ullmark’s signing of the agreement was not a good start. Four-year, $20 Million contractHe has made great strides since then, despite a slow start. He is now 11-5-0 with a 2.57 GAA, a.917SV%, and has improved in every outing. Although some were skeptical about the contract’s length, it seems that the 28-yearold has been living up to his expectations.

Swayman and Ullmark played well in this season’s hockey, despite being subject to many odd-man rushes. Sweeney stated that Rask has joined the Bruins. Swayman will travel to Providence.

Bruins Need a Second Line Centre

It’s no secret that the Bruins need to address their trade deadline in March. An addition to defense with a blueliner of left-shot would be the next step.

When David Krejci made the announcement in July Boston did not fill the gap in the second line after Patrice Bergeron, even though he had stated that he would continue his career in Czech Republic. Charlie Coyle was the man between Taylor Hall & Craig Smith at the beginning of the season and has not been bad. He is just not the playmaking center that Hall seems to need to thrive as he did following last April’s trade.

Charlie Coyle Boston Bruins
Charlie Coyle, Boston BruinsJess Starr/The Hockey Writers

Erik Haula, who recently took over the second line between Hall & David Pastrnak has been promoted to Erik Haula. But is Haula and Coyle the best choice for the rest? Coyle’s Six-year contract worth $31.5 Million.He is a $5.25 million annual average value (AAV), but it seems he would be better off on the third.

Cassidy has no other options after Coyle and Haula. Jack Studnicka was able to have a good training camp even though Coyle was out of town. However, he spent most of this season in Providence and saw top-six minutes at the center. It’s clear that Sweeney will have to address this before March.

Bruins Could Benefit from an Additional Defense

Offseason: Defense suffered when Jeremy Lauzon was unprotected for the Seattle Kraken Expansion draft in July. Kraken GM Ron Francis was able to take the young left-shot. Sweeney signed Derek Forbort as a left-shot defenseman for 20 minutes a night and brought back Mike Reilly from the Ottawa Senators.

Derek Forbort Boston Bruins
Derek Forbort (Boston Bruins)Amy Irvin/ The Hockey Writers

Both players have experienced their ups and falls this season while playing behind Matt Grzelcyk. Boston could benefit from an additional left-side player. Jakob Chychrun from the Arizona Coyotes could be a player that is available for trade. The 23-year-old, 6-foot-2 and 220-pound player would make a good addition. However, the asking price is high. He is currently in the third year a six-year contract worth $27.6million with a $4.6m cap. The Black and Gold will get an additional three years of left-side trading for Chychrun.

Related: Bruins Could Really Use the Stars’ Klingberg

Right now, the Bruins have been bringing in Reilly, Forbort and Grzelcyk to the left side on a nightly base. That is sufficient for now. But, can they sustain that in the long-term and in the postseason? That’s what the front office needs to ask themselves. It is essential to upgrade a deal.

Bruins Must Address Certain Needs

The Bruins can hang on to a wildcard spot in the Eastern Conference because of how they are now constructed. They may be good enough to secure one of two wildcard spots, but they need outside help in order to advance beyond the playoffs.

Jake DeBrusk is Sweeney’s most valuable trade chip at the moment Requesting a November trade. It might not be possible to make a player-for-player deal. One more roster player might be needed, as well as draft picks and prospects who are very close to becoming NHL ready. Sweeney might surprise people by making a huge deal. That’s not his style, but anything is possible.

Don’t get me wrong, Rask joining the Bruins is a nice addition, however, other needs have to be addressed in the next couple of months. The front office must address two of the most urgent needs: an additional left-side defense and a second-line center.