The Boston Bruins on Wednesday signed goalie Tuukka Rask to an eight-year, $56 million contract extension, making official what had been expected since the end of the season.
During the lockout-shortened 2013 season, Rask had a 19-10-5 record with a goals-against average of 2.00, a .929 save percentage and five shutouts as he helped the Bruins to the Stanley Cup Finals.
Rask’s deal, with a $7 million per season salary cap hit, equals the contract the Nashville Predators gave goalie Pekka Rinne prior to last season.
The climb to the top has been a rocky adventure for Rask. The Bruins acquired him in 2006 from the Toronto Maple Leafs for Andrew Raycroft.
For years, he was seen as the Bruins’ goaltender of the future. The future arrived this past season but in between there was plenty of time spent on the bench backing up Tim Thomas.
Thomas, who led the Bruins to the Stanley Cup championship in 2011, took this past season off, giving Rask an opportunity to capitalize on more playing time.
Rask, who was a restricted free agent after signing a one-year deal before this past season, did exactly that. He was solid during the regular season, but in the playoffs, he took his game to another level.
During the 2013 postseason, he led the NHL in save percentage (.940), tied for first in shutouts (three) and finished fourth in GAA (1.88) in 22 games. Rask set a club record for home playoff shutout streak at 193:16, spanning from Game 4 of the conference final to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Finals.
Rask had arbitration rights as well, where he could have possibly signed a more lucrative contract than the one he signed on Wednesday.
In 138 NHL games, all of which have come with the Bruins, Rask has compiled a 66-45-16 record with 16 shutouts, a .927 save percentage and a 2.15 goals against average. He has appeared in 35 postseason games for the Bruins, amassing a 21-14 record.
The Nashville Predators signed first-round draft pick Seth Jones to an entry-level deal for three years and $9.675 million, the team announced Wednesday.
Jones’ base salary will be $925,000 but with bonuses it will have an annual cap average of $3.225 million.
“Seth is a special prospect and we were fortunate to be in position to select him,” Predators general manager David Poile said. “As a player, he brings so much to our organization, from size you can’t teach to a skill set that every team hopes to add and a personality and maturity that will allow him to grow and develop with our veteran core and other young players.
“He has excelled at the junior and international levels and we anticipate him enjoying great success at the NHL level.”
Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, likely will contend for a spot with the Predators next season. He was the No. 1 ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.
Last season for Portland in the Western Hockey League, Jones had 14 goals and 42 assists.
“I’m excited to be one step closer to realizing the dream of playing in the NHL, especially with a world-class organization like the Nashville Predators,” Jones said. “Since being drafted by the Predators and coming to development camp, I’m certain this is the right spot and right organization for me. I can’t wait for the opportunity to learn from and play with world-class players like Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne and other veteran players who will help me in my development on and off the ice.”
Less than two weeks after he was selected with the No. 1 overall pick in the NHL draft, Nathan MacKinnon signed a three-year, entry-level contract with the Colorado Avalanche.
MacKinnon, a 17-year-old center, will earn $925,000 in base pay (the maximum allowed for a draftee), though he will count for $3,775,000 against the salary cap as bonuses are factored in, multiple media outlets reported.
“We’re happy to have Nathan under contract and excited to see him at training camp,” Joe Sakic, Colorado’s Avalanche executive vice president of hockey operations, said in a statement.
The 6-foot, 182-pound MacKinnon scored 32 goals and had 43 assists in 44 games for the Halifax Mooseheads this past season, leading the team to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League championship and the Memorial Cup.
MacKinnon comes from the same hometown as Pittsburgh Penguins star Sidney Crosby, Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia.
MacKinnon will join a young Avalanche core that also includes Gabriel Landeskog (the No. 2 overall pick in 2011) and Matt Duchene (the No. 3 overall pick in 2009).