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Halak signs one-year, $2.25 million contract with Bruins

Goalie could have been free agent after season

by @NHLdotcom

Jaroslav Halak signed a one-year, $2.25 million contract with the Boston Bruins on Friday.

The 34-year-old goalie is in the final season of a two-year contract and could have become an unrestricted free agent.

"I think the whole organization, teammates, fans are great," Halak said Saturday. "Playing for the Bruins, an Original Six team, it's always special. I had a lot of fun, having a great relationship with [Tuukka Rask], not only him but everybody in the locker room, I think we are kind of like a family. It's been a big part of me wanting to come back."

Halak is 18-6-6 with a 2.39 goals-against average, .919 save percentage and three shutouts in 31 games this season. He signed with the Bruins as a free agent July 1, 2018, and in two seasons with Boston is 40-17-10 with a 2.36 GAA, a .921 save percentage and eight shutouts as the backup to Rask.

"We're in better position now with Rask and Halak," Bruins general manager Don Sweeney said. "Over the years, [Rask] has been well-rested, has been able to go on a run. But we've leaned on the backup goaltender much more regularly in the last few years. … I think Jaro the last couple years has really established himself as being a go-to guy."

Selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the ninth round (No. 271) of the 2003 NHL Draft, Halak is 272-167-58 in 520 games (500 starts) with the Bruins, New York Islanders, Washington Capitals, St. Louis Blues and Canadiens. He is 13-15 with a .924 save percentage in 30 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"This has been an ongoing discussion," Sweeney said. "… He's worked very well with our coaching staff and with Tuukka. So I think he fits in with our team and our group, so really it's a testament to him and the job he's done first and foremost ... I think it'll be a nice balance to be able to put the goaltenders in a situation not unlike this season, where we can go to either one of them at any time, they can take the ball."

The Bruins, who lost to the St. Louis Blues in the Stanley Cup Final last season, had the most points in the League (100) when the season was paused on March 12 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.

"I think everybody knows that we have unfinished business (from last season)," Halak said. "I hope the season can resume and we can start off where we finished. ... Team is great, teammates, the city of Boston, fans - so it wasn't tough to think about it and take a one-year deal. I'm really happy that we got it done and now I can focus on what's going to happen in the summer or with this season, not knowing what's going to happen with next season." staff writer Amalie Benjamin contributed to this story

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