The impending opening of free agency on Friday just got even more intriguing–and even weirder. Tim Thomas, former Boston Bruins goaltender, announced via his agent that he is exploring possible options for returning to NHL play next season.
If he does find a team willing to take him in, that will complete the plans he had all along: sit out a season (in this case, the lockout-shortened 2013 campaign), make a triumphant return and angle for a goaltending role with Team USA at the 2014 Winter Olympics. But finding a team might be easier said than done. The fact is that he’s closer to 40 than to anything else and hasn’t been playing, of course, although he could very well have been practicing at a civilian rink to keep from getting rusty. I did recently see a picture where someone at a rink ran into him, after all.
Of course, where he goes is literally not even the Bruins’ problem anymore, which should give general manager Peter Chiarelli a bit of relief. He was swapped off to the New York Islanders in February so they could get to the salary floor and the Bruins could get a little more cap breathing room. However, the Islanders aren’t believed to have any interest in re-signing him, so he will become an unrestricted free agent on July 5.
His agent, Bill Zito, made the announcement about his exploration on Twitter today. Interesting note: Zito also represents Tuukka Rask and has been negotiating a new contract for his other client.
Perhaps the Philadelphia Flyers might express some interest in him: they bought out Ilya Bryzgalov and might be looking for a netminder. However, the more out-there suggestion is for Thomas to fill the hole suddenly created in the Vancouver Canucks lineup by the trade departure of Cory Schneider. That would, of course, create a goaltending tandem of Thomas and Roberto Luongo and that would, of course, be hilarious.
For the record, Luongo hasn’t checked in yet about this via his Twitter.
Stay tuned for more on this developing story.