Over the past two seasons, the Boston Bruins have arguably had one of the best goalie combinations in the NHL. While Tuukka Rask has continued to be the Bruins’ No. 1 netminder, Jaroslav Halak has been a capable and at times an above-average backup. This offseason, however, Halak will be a free agent. With the fate of the 2019-2020 season uncertain due to the coronavirus pandemic, Halak’s days in Boston may be numbered.
Before joining the Bruins prior to the 2018-2019 season, Halak was coming off of the worst season of his career. In 54 games for the Islanders, Halak had a save percentage of .908 and a goals-againts average of .319. He ended his final season in New York with a 20-26-6 record after appearing in more than 50 games for just the third time in his career.
Gotta glove it to Jaroslav Halak on this one. 😍 pic.twitter.com/Zfyn6vgjoY
— NHL (@NHL) September 19, 2019
Despite Halak’s down season, he was signed by the Bruins on July 1, 2018, to a two-year deal worth $ 5.5 million. At the time, Halak’s signing was not met with much excitement as Anton Khodobin was coming off an impressive season backing up Rask but departed for Dallas in free agency. The signing, however, has proven to be one of Don Sweeney’s best since becoming the general manager of the Bruins.
In two years with Boston, Halak has a record of 40-17-10. After recording 12 shutouts in four years for New York, the veteran netminder already has 8 since signing with Boston. In that span, Halak also has a save percentage of .921 and a GAA of 2.36. His play has allowed the Bruins to rest Rask and keep him fresh when the games become more important.
— Bruins Diehards (@BruinsDiehards) January 17, 2020
Furthermore, Halak was in the midst of a solid year before the coronavirus put the world on hold. In 31 games this season Halak, went 18-6-6 with a GAA of 2.39. The former ninth-round pick had a save percentage of .919 and stopped 1,068 of the 1,158 shots that he faced. He also had three shutouts which is only two shy of his total from last season.
With the offseason on the horizon, the Bruins have some tough decisions ahead. Halak has exceeded expectations since signing in Boston and will have many suitors in free agency. Over the past two seasons, Halak has been a steady presence behind Rask and earlier this season became the 74th goalie in NHL history to appear in 500 games.
Regardless of how Halak’s future plays out, he has had an impressive run in Boston filled with moments that won’t soon be forgotten.