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Getting to Know: Jaroslav Halak

Veteran netminder will backup Rask

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins /

BOSTON - The Bruins signed goalie Jaroslav Halak to a two-year contract on Sunday worth an average annual value of $2.75 million.

"We looked at that signing from every angle," said Bruins general manager Don Sweeney. "We obviously had familiarity with [goalie development coach] Mike Dunham having come over from the Islanders...Jaro's carried the ball with another team - he's had months where he's played 10 games. He's had usually about 26 - at least - starts. That fits in to what we're trying to expect, from what the goaltender tandem needs to happen going forward."

Last team: New York Islanders

Position: Goaltender

Height: 5 feet, 11 inches

Weight: 183 pounds

Catches: Left

Birthday: May 13, 1985 (33 years old)

Hometown: Bratislava, Slovakia

Drafted: 2003 | 9th Round, 271st Overall (MTL)

Miscellaneous: A veteran of 12 NHL seasons, Halak has suited up for Montreal, St. Louis, Washington, and the New York Islanders, playing in both a starting and reserve role over the course of his career. In 2014-15 with the Islanders, Halak won a career-high 38 games in 59 games, the most he has played in any season.

The 33-year-old played in 54 games (49 starts) for the Islanders last season, posting a 3.19 goals against average and .908 save percentage to go along with a 20-26-6 record.

The Slovakia native, an All-Star in 2015, has twice finished in the top 10 of the Vezina Trophy voting, including a sixth-place showing in 2011-12 for St. Louis, when he posted a .926 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average in 46 games. Halak and teammate Brian Elliott also took home the William M. Jennings Trophy (fewest goals allowed) that season.

Halak finished 10th in the Vezina voting in 2009-10 with Montreal when he went 26-13-5 with a 2.40 goals against average and .924 save percentage.

He has also served as the starting goaltender for Slovakia in both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Games.

Scouting Report: With Anton Khudobin signing with Dallas, Halak will likely take on a similar role as Tuukka Rask's backup. Khudobin played 31 games last season, allowing Rask to take on a lighter workload.

"We've talked about internal competition," said Sweeney. "Maybe it puts Tuukka in a better mindset. There were nights when Tuukka was back-to-backs. That's a lot of stress on the goaltender knowing - I think two years ago we didn't have a win by our backup at Christmas time. I'm not sure you guys wrote about it, but I did, and I lost sleep about it.

"Again, I think we have two guys that have carried the ball for their teams, that will push each other, that will complement each other, and we feel good that now, going in every night, that that's an area we aren't going to be concerned about, hopefully. Obviously, it's the performance now."

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