The Neverending Tim Thomas Saga
Previously on The Tim Thomas Saga: he said has no plans to play out the 2013 season with the Boston Bruins or, in fact, anywhere else. Also, he changed his phone number, so now Tuukka Rask is having trouble getting in contact with him so they can talk about goalie things.
This week on The Tim Thomas Saga: possible plans for the future, perhaps?
General manager Peter Chiarelli said on Sunday that Thomas wants to play in the 2013-14 season. However, for the 2013 season, he has been suspended.
“We’ll end up suspending him and we want to do it in a non-adversarial way,” Chiarelli told ESPN Boston. “I’ve talked to the agent and we’ll agree to some type of set of facts and remedies and that’ll be it. So he will be on our cap, unless I trade him.”
So yes, his $5 million cap hit is still on the Bruins’ books because he was signed after the age of 35. With the market being as it is, he’s kind of in limbo.
“With the floor as it is, $44 million for this year, there’s probably not the opportunity to move him to a team that needs to get to the floor, so it’s a bit of a standstill. He’s on our cap and he’ll be suspended,” Chiarelli said.
Chiarelli could try to trade him or toll his contract, meaning Thomas could be required to give the team another year under the same terms as this contract. Those options will all be considered somewhere further down the road.
Being reasonable here for a moment–and discounting the drama created at the end of last season–when the 2013-14 season gets underway, Thomas will be nearly 40 years old. That’s not to say older goalies are all terrible and unreliable, not at all. Success stories like Dwayne Roloson (circa the 2011 playoffs) and Dominik Hasek prove that age isn’t always everything.
But let’s say that 2013 goes well for Rask and Anton Khudobin. Then Thomas, who will have played his most recent NHL game in April 2012, comes back into the picture. Does he want to be the starter again? How rusty would he be? Would Rask, who will be 26 years old by that time, have to step back once again and be the backup like he did after he ran the show in 2009-10?
I could be completely wrong in not having the best feeling ever about this plan. Thomas is a big supporter of Prove People Wrong, so he’d probably want to do just that. But again, after a whole year away from game action and being a bit older to boot, will the Bruins even want to give him a chance?
I know his big thing is the dream of going to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and trying for a gold medal this time. But when Jonathan Quick also holds a blue passport and can play for the U.S. team, unless he absolutely tanks in the near future, he will be a safe bet for making the team and playing a lot. I’d even suggest John Gibson as a possible backup or third-stringer for the 2014 Olympics. He was amazing for the gold-medal 2013 World Junior team and should be of age by the time Team USA starts to formulate their selections. By that time, he may even be with an NHL team. Ryan Miller may go again, so that’s three right there.
Though Thomas did so much for the Bruins, especially in 2011, the hard-to-face fact is that time might just be up for him. Again, I could be wrong.