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The 8 Best And 7 Worst Defensemen Tuukka Rask Had To Play Behind

Tuukka Rask is one of the best goalies in the NHL, and he is looking to add more hardware in his trophy case.

Tuukka Rask is currently playing in his tenth season with the Boston Bruins. The 6’3"-176 goaltender was drafted 21st overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs. But in June 2006, the Leafs traded him to the Bruins in exchange for Andrew Raycroft.

Rask made his NHL debut with the Bruins on November 20, 2007 coincidentally against the Toronto Maple Leafs. And yes, he ended up beating the team who had originally drafted him. Rask only played four games in 2007-08, then just one game the following season. But he started seeing more NHL time beginning with the 2009-10 season which continues to this very day.

So far in his career, he has played a total of 393 regular season games and recorded 204 wins (including 38 shutouts), 123 losses and 47 overtime/shootout losses, along with a 2.25 goals against average and a .923 save percentage. He also appeared in 47 playoff games and earned 28 wins including 5 shutouts. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. Then in 2014, he was awarded the Vezina Trophy for being the best goalie in the league.

Here is a list of the eight best and seven worst defensemen who have played in front of Tuukka Rask based on their quality of play beginning with the 2009-10 season (Rask’s first full NHL season).

15 Best: Andrew Ference

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Andrew Ference spent seven seasons with the Boston Bruins from 2006-07 to 2012-13.

Beginning with the 2009-10 season (Rask’s first full NHL season), the 5’11"-182 defenseman played a total of 241 regular season games and tallied 60 points (13 goals, 47 assists), along with 157 penalty minutes and a +33 plus/minus rating. He also appeared in 59 playoff games and recorded 17 points. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

He was only mediocre, however, when it came to hits and blocked shots. He delivered a total of 289 hits and blocked 289 shots – both averaged out to 1.2 per game. He was, however, an asset on their penalty kill unit as he saw a decent amount of ice time while the Bruins were a man down and he did record three shorthanded points.

He wasn’t one of the top defensemen to have playing in front of Rask, but he certainly wasn’t the worst.

14 Worst: Joe Corvo

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Joe Corvo spent one season with the Boston Bruins in 2011-12.

During that time, the 6-foot-tall, 204-pound defenseman played 75 regular season games and earned 25 points (four goals, 21 assists), along with a +10 plus/minus rating. He was also an asset on the power play with nine of his points being recorded while they were on the man advantage. And he only had 13 penalty minutes which was the lowest amount of PIM among all Bruins defensemen that season who played at least 20 games. He also appeared in five playoff games but failed to earn any points.

Despite his numbers being pretty decent, he was quite disappointing in other very important areas. He only delivered 27 hits which averaged out to 0.4 per game – the lowest average among his fellow defensemen who played over two games. And he blocked just 56 shots which averaged out to only 0.7 per game – tied for the lowest average among their defensemen that year. Blocking shots is a very important role for a defensemen and Corvo lacked greatly in that area.

13 Best: Dougie Hamilton

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Dougie Hamilton spent the first three years of his NHL career with the Boston Bruins from 2012 to 2015.

During that time, the large, 6’6"-210 defenseman played a total of 178 regular season games and earned 83 points (22 goals, 61 assists), along with a +23 plus/minus rating. He also didn’t have a lot of penalty minutes with just 95 PIM which averaged out to 32 seconds per game. He then appeared in 19 playoff games and earned 10 points.

He also delivered 238 hits (an average of 1.3 per game) and blocked 139 shots (an average of 0.8 per game). He saw a decent amount of time on their power play unit and recorded 25 points (including 9 goals) while they were on the man advantage.

Although he probably could have blocked more shots, he was a good guy to have on the power play, he didn’t rack up a lot of penalty minutes, and he had a good plus/minus rating, so all together he was a good defenseman to have playing in front of Rask.

12 Worst: Matt Bartkowski

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Matt Bartkowski spent five seasons with the Boston Bruins from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

During that time, the 6’1"-196 defenseman played a total of 131 regular season games and recorded 24 points (all assists), 77 penalty minutes, and a +13 plus/minus rating. He also appeared in 15 playoff games and tallied 3 points.

He was good at throwing his body around with 263 hits – an average of two hits per game. However, he only blocked 87 shots which averaged out to 0.7 per game.

He struggled to earn a permanent spot with the Bruins. In his first three seasons with Boston, he only played a total of 20 regular season games. He did see a lot more time with them in his last two seasons, but his numbers were still less than impressive, especially in his last year with them. He went on to play for the Vancouver Canucks and is now currently a member of the Calgary Flames.

11 Best: Adam McQuaid

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Adam McQuaid has spent his entire eight-year NHL career with the Boston Bruins from 2009 to the current day.

So far, the 6’4"-212 pound defenseman has played 422 regular season games and recorded 62 points (12 goals, 50 assists). He does have a whopping 590 penalty minutes which includes 50 majors – the most PIM and second most majors among all Bruins players since 2009-10. However, all that time in box didn’t have a major affect on his overall plus/minus rating since he has a +63 rating which ranks him third among his team’s defensemen in the last eight seasons.

He has also delivered a good amount of hits with 786 of them, which averages out to just under two per game. And he has blocked 684 shots, with an average of 1.6 per game.

He then appeared in 54 playoff games and tallied 8 points. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

McQuaid’s strong physical presence, along with his great plus/minus rating, shows that he’s an asset to have defending his goaltender’s territory.

10 Worst: Colin Miller

Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Miller is currently playing in his second NHL season with the Boston Bruins.

So far, the 6’1"-196 defenseman played 102 regular season games and recorded 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists), 94 penalty minutes, and a -1 plus/minus rating. He has yet to appear in any playoff games.

He has delivered a total of 126 hits which averages out to 1.2 per game. However, his number of blocked shots is less than impressive with only 70 of them which averages out to 0.7 per game. In fact, his overall average of blocked shots ranks him very close to the bottom of the list among his fellow defensemen in the last two years. And his average of 15:45 minutes of on-ice time per game also ranks him as one of the lowest among Bruins defensemen. He’s definitely not the top choice to have playing in front of Rask.

9 Best: Kevan Miller

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Kevan Miller has spent his entire four-year NHL career thus far with the Boston Bruins from 2013 to the present day.

So far, the 6’2, 210 pound defenseman has played 215 regular season games and tallied 44 points (11 goals, 33 assists), along with 156 penalty minutes including 12 majors. He also has an overall plus/minus rating of +57 and led all Bruins defensemen in that category for two consecutive seasons (+20 in 2014-15 and +15 in 2015-16). He then appeared in 11 playoff games and recorded two assists.

He’s known to throw his body around with a total of 469 hits which averages out to 2.2 per game. He also has 341 blocked shots for an average of 1.6 per game.

Miller is a physical player who can drop the gloves, deliver hits, and has a very impressive plus/minus rating. He’s certainly an asset to have protecting his goaltender.

8 Worst: John-Michael Liles

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John-Michael Liles is currently playing in his second season with the Boston Bruins after getting sent there from the Carolina Hurricanes in February 2016.

So far with the Bruins, the 5’10"-185 defenseman has played 51 regular season games and recorded 11 points (all assists), along with six penalty minutes and a -6 plus/minus rating. He has yet to appear in any playoff games with them.

He doesn’t deliver a lot of hits with just 42 of them (an average of 0.8 per game) and he’s only mediocre at blocking shots with 71 of them (an average of 1.4 per game). Not to mention the fact that he has yet to score a goal with them in 51 games played.

He is playing in his thirteenth NHL season which is probably why he’s beginning to slow down. Nevertheless, he’s still not the best guy to have in front of Rask.

7 Best: Johnny Boychuk

via Boston.com

Johnny Boychuk spent six seasons with the Boston Bruins from 2008-09 to 2013-14.

Beginning with the 2009-10 season (Rask’s first full NHL season), the 6’2"-227 defenseman played a total of 316 regular season games and recorded 75 points (19 goals, 56 assists), along with 198 penalty minutes (including 10 majors). He also had a fantastic +88 plus/minus rating, which ranks him second among all Bruins defensemen since the 2009-10 season. He then appeared in 79 playoff games and earned 27 points. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

He played a physical game with 591 hits which averaged out to almost two hits per game. And he blocked 544 shots which averaged out to 1.7 per game. He also saw a lot of ice time during the penalty kill and recorded 4 shorthanded points.

With his strong physical play, along with the ability to help out on the penalty kill, and his excellent plus/minus rating, Boychuk was definitely a great defenseman to have playing in front of Rask.

6 Worst: Joe Morrow

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Morrow is currently playing in his third NHL season with the Boston Bruins.

So far, the 6"0-199 pound defenseman has played 65 regular season games and tallied nine points (two goals, seven assists), along with 16 penalty minutes. He has an overall plus/minus rating of -8 and was even tied for the worst rating among all Bruins defensemen in 2015-16 with a -7.

He has yet to appear in any playoff games.

He is only mediocre with 75 delivered hits and 76 blocked shots – each of them averaging out to 1.2 per game. And he has seen very little ice time during the man advantage as well as on the penalty kill.

He’s definitely struggling this season with 17 games played so far and only has one assist, along with a -4 rating. He’s not the best guy to have playing in front of Rask.

5 Best: Torey Krug

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Torey Krug has spent his entire six-year NHL career thus far with the Boston Bruins starting with the 2011-12 season to the present day.

So far in his career, the 5’9"-186 defenseman has played 321 regular season games and recorded 176 points (38 goals, 138 assists), along with a +29 plus/minus rating. He is ranked second among all Bruins defensemen in points since 2009-10. And he’s definitely an asset on the power play with 78 of his points recorded while they were a man up. He’s also great for not racking up a lot of penalty minutes with just 118 PIM which averages out to just 22 second per game.

He also appeared in 27 playoff games and earned 16 points.

He doesn’t deliver a lot of hits (244 of them) and only averages one blocked shot per game (total of 326 blocked shots). But with all of his other talents – great on the power play, good plus/minus rating, can produce points, and is hardly ever in the penalty box – he’s definitely a good defenseman to have playing in front of Rask.

4 Worst: Matt Hunwick

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Matt Hunwick spent four seasons with the Boston Bruins from 2007-08 to 2010-11.

Beginning with the 2009-10 season (Rask’s first full NHL season), the 5’11"-200 pound defenseman played a total of 98 regular season games and recorded 17 points (seven goals, 10 assists), along with 41 penalty minutes. He also had an overall plus/minus rating of -12 and even had the lowest rating among all Bruins players in 2009-10 with a -16.

He also had a total of 81 hits and 79 blocked shots, which both averaged out to less than one each per game (0.8 per game).

He then appeared in 13 playoff games and tallied 6 assists.

Between having a bad plus/minus rating, along with a low amount of blocked shots, Matt Hunwick was not much help to his goaltender Tuukka Rask. Hunwick is currently playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

3 Best: Dennis Seidenberg

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Dennis Seidenberg spent seven seasons with the Boston Bruins from 2009-10 to 2015-16.

During that time, the 6 foot tall, 198-pound defenseman played a total of 401 regular season games and recorded 117 points (23 goals, 94 assists), along with a very impressive +54 plus/minus rating. He barely racked up any penalty minutes with a total of 164 PIM which averaged out to just 24 seconds per game. He then appeared in 50 playoff games and tallied 15 points. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011.

He definitely wasn’t afraid to throw his body around with 863 hits which averaged out to 2.2 per game. And he could also block shots with a total of 808 of them which averaged out to exactly two per game.

Between delivering a large amount hits and blocking a lot of shots, along with the fact that he barely saw any time in the penalty box and had a great plus/minus rating, Seidenberg was definitely an asset to have playing in front of Rask.

2 Worst: Aaron Johnson

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Aaron Johnson only spent one season with the Boston Bruins in 2012-13, but it was quite disappointing.

The 6’1"-204 defenseman played a total of 10 regular season games, but failed to earn any points. He also racked up ten penalty minutes, which, despite playing just ten games; he still managed to have the third highest average of PIM among his team’s defensemen with one minute per game.

He did know how to deliver hits with 18 with them, which averaged out to 1.8 per game. However, he only blocked a total of five shots which averaged out to 0.5 per game – not very impressive for a defenseman who is suppose to be defending his goaltender’s territory.

With no points, a high amount of penalty minutes, and a very low amount of blocked shots, it’s no surprise that Johnson only played ten games with the Bruins. And not surprising, it was also his last season in the NHL.

1 Best: Zdeno Chara

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Zdeno Chara has spent the last eleven seasons of his NHL career with the Boston Bruins from 2006 to the present day. He has also been serving as their team captain since 2006.

Beginning with the 2009-10 season (Rask’s first full NHL season), the very large, 6’9"-250 defenseman has played 581 regular season games and produced 284 points (84 goals, 200 assists). He has a phenomenal +157 plus/minus rating which ranks him first among all of his teammates since 2009-10. He also sees the most ice time among all of his teammates.

He plays a physical game with 565 penalty minutes which includes 15 majors. He has also delivered 1,121 hits which averages out to almost two per game. And he has 831 blocked shots.

As for the playoffs, he appeared in 78 games and earned 38 points. He helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011. He was awarded the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 2009 for the best defenseman. Then in 2011, he won the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award for showing great leadership qualities on and off the ice.

There’s no question that Chara is a huge and extremely helpful defenseman to have in front of Tuukka Rask.

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The 8 Best And 7 Worst Defensemen Tuukka Rask Had To Play Behind