As is the case just about every offseason, there are plenty of NHL clubs in desperate need of goaltending for the 2020-21 campaign.
Most years, a scarce supply of competent netminding talent often leads to a panicked feeding frenzy among the teams with deep pockets (and shallow decision making among the top brass.)
But as luck would have it, the market is absolutely inundated this fall with both established and intriguing options for teams in need of stability between the pipes — whether it be UFA targets like Jacob Markstrom, Braden Holtby, Corey Crawford, Anton Khudobin, Henrik Lundqvist and more, or RFAs and other trade chips such as Matt Murray, Marc-Andre Fleury and Darcy Kuemper.
But few among that pool of proven NHL goalie can offer the potential return that Tuukka Rask could bring, especially for a contending team that believes it's right on the cusp of an extended push for the Stanley Cup.
We've already delved into the rumors surrounding Rask's future with Boston, along with the rather evident risks that come with parting ways with a franchise goalie — especially if Don Sweeney and Co. still believe this core is capable of orchestrating another deep run in 2020-21
Now, if the Bruins do indeed opt to completely upend their roster and trade Rask, such a franchise-altering move will only be facilitated if a pair of conditions are met:
- Boston has secured a contingency plan in net beyond just rolling out Jaroslav Halak and Dan Vladar in 2020-21, with this robust goalie market offering a chance for the B's to snag another competent, cheaper (albeit likely not as effective) option in net.
- Boston received a great return from whatever team swapped assets to acquire Rask for the final year of his eight-year contract.
Now, Rask's resume speaks for itself as one of the top netminders in the league, but given how stacked the goalie market is this fall, it's well within reason that most of these teams in need of help in net solve these vacancies by way of free-agent signings or trades requiring fewer assets to execute.
As such, if Boston wants to actually net a solid return for an elite goalie whose playing career could be a bit murky beyond 2021, it needs to find potential trade suitors already boasting talented, Cup-contending rosters — but in desperate need of a game-changer in net to put themselves over the top. Finding a trade partner that checks off all those boxes might be hard to come by, but those teams are indeed out there if Boston is committed to moving on from the 33-year-old Rask.
Here are a couple of potential trade suitors that could come calling if Rask really is available for the right price this offseason:
Colorado Avalanche: As soon as trade rumors began sprouting up that Rask could be dangled on the open market this fall, the first thought for many when it came to suitors were the Avs — a team with loads of cap space and an uber-talented young core ready to make some noise.
While Colorado's goaltending situation isn't