Canucks trade targets: Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask

Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images) /

Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask has been mentioned in trade rumours, and the Vancouver Canucks should target him if Jacob Markstrom departs.

NHL free agency is only four days away now, and the Vancouver Canucks have to quickly think about plan B if Jacob Markstrom leaves in free agency.

There is no shortage of quality starting goalies available in both the trade and free agent markets. So if Markstrom departs, general manager Jim Benning should have little issue finding a capable veteran presence to help Thatcher Demko.

Surprisingly, Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask — a 2019-20 Vezina Trophy finalist — has popped up in the trade rumour mill. It doesn’t sound like the Bruins are necessarily shopping the 33-year-old, but if the right deal comes along, the Presidents’ Trophy winners could consider moving him.

Here’s what Frank Seravalli reported regarding Rask, who’s No. 10 on TSN’s trade bait list:

"“Vezina Trophy runner-up Tuukka Rask debuts on the board at No. 10. Many were wondering if there would be fallout from Rask’s decision to leave the bubble for family reasons, a decision that was certainly supported by teammates. But multiple sources indicate that Bruins GM Don Sweeney has initiated conversations with teams about Rask’s market value over the last number of weeks.”"

The Bruins are still in win-now mode, but even if they trade Rask, Sweeney can still land one of the many proven goalies via trade or free agency.

Rask has talked about possibly retiring when his contract runs up after the 2020-21 season. Perhaps that’s why the Bruins are exploring his value on the market.

The Canucks should see what exactly Sweeney is looking for in return. Given Rask’s age (33) and the fact he’s only signed for one more year, it’s hard to imagine Boston demanding a king’s ransom for the veteran goalie.

If the Canucks aren’t keen on extending Jake Virtanen, perhaps they could offer him up as part of a package for Rask? The Bruins need more scoring up front, and Virtanen would be a nice fit alongside David Krejci on their second line.

A Rask-Demko goaltending tandem could do wonders. Last season, the former and Jaroslav Halak won the William M. Jennings Trophy after surrendering the fewest goals against.

Rask has started no more than 53 games in a season over the past three years, and if the Canucks managed his load, they would have a fresh and Vezina-caliber goalie to work aruond. And even if the Canucks only had Rask for one season, he could at least mentor and prepare Demko for starting duties in 2021-22.

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Add it all up, and Rask seems like the ideal trade target for Benning, assuming the Bruins are still actively listening on calls. The price has to be right, but if Markstrom is on his way out, the Canucks need to explore the opportunity of acquiring a veteran All-Star in Rask to complement Demko.