Don Sweeney held his annual pre-draft media availability via Zoom on Monday — touching on a number of topics, including current trade rumors surrounding Boston, pending free agents and much more. Here are a few takeaways from Sweeney’s chat:
Sweeney looks to quell Tuukka Rask rumors:
Where there's smoke, there's usually fire when it comes to trade whispers around this time of the NHL calendar (usually reserved for late June/early July of a regular offseason). And given the amount of chatter surrounding B's goalie and 2020 Vezina Trophy runner-up Tuukka Rask, it's not out of the realm of possibility that the Bruins — looking to either clear cap space, reshuffle its roster or rebuild for the future — could part ways with their franchise goalie, so long as the return is substantial and a contingency plan is in place between the pipes.
Unsurprisingly, Sweeney didn't delve too deep into any trade talks surrounding Rask, reiterating that the 33-year-old netminder should once again be a key cog for Boston as it looks to put together another extended playoff run in 2021.
"As a matter of fact, our staff has communicated with Tuukka and as I said before, he remains a big part of our roster planning going forward because I think by my knowledge, he was second in the Vezina balloting and we feel very, very comfortable with where our goaltending is at," Sweeney said. "And I think you’re going to need it. I don’t know what the schedule and what the season – I think there are a lot of things that are up in the air, but it could be a challenging environment from a season standpoint. Might make goaltending even more a big part of what you have to have going forward."
Of course, Boston can (and should) still value Rask while also doing its due diligence by gauging his value on the open market, especially now that CapFriendly confirmed a report from OHL Writers’ Dominic Tiano that was posted this weekend — revealing that Rask's no-movement clause actually doesn't carry into the final year of his eight-year deal. That NMC will expire on Friday, the same day free agency gets underway across the league.