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NHL Boston BruinsCalgary FlamesFlorida Panthers

Tim Thomas Still A Top Free Agent Goaltender

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The former goalie for the Boston Bruins, Tim Thomas, is back from his one year vacation from the NHL and is looking to play again. He left Boston in disgrace for abandoning the team so suddenly. Thankfully Tuukka Rask was able to step in and perform. Now Thomas’ hope that a new team will take him in has hit a road block with no new interest in the 39-year old. A question remains on his value as a free agent.

When it is all said and done, the former Conn Smythe winner still has what it takes to succeed in the NHL. Those that say he is too old to play professional hockey should think again. Arguably he was the best goalie in the league in 2011, the year the Bruins were Stanley Cup champions and the year he won the Vezina Trophy, at the ripe age of 37-years old. He may not be in perfect hockey shape yet, but that can be easily fixed with some hard work through training camp.

Commitment issues should not be a problem this time around. If he really wanted to retire, he would have done so. Thomas has the desire to play hockey again and emphasized that from the beginning of his hiatus. He has actively looked for for team to recruit his talent, from the Philadelphia Flyers to the New York Islanders.

The only question mark is something that is totally out of his control which is finding a team that will be the right fit for him. The best options would be the Calgary Flames and the Florida Panthers. The former is planning for the long term, but their short term goalie options are thin. A veteran like Thomas can provide some experience and some saves along the way but for what will likely be an average year for the Flames. The only question is the money they would be willing to spend. The Panthers are another team in the mix for similar reasons. They have a goalie for the future, but he may not be ready yet. If anything he is worth a tryout for a team that is in desperate need of an injection of a marquee name.

The money Thomas would get is not going to be on record breaking levels. No team will sign him unless they can see that he has not lost many steps and that he is better than any other option on the table. If he can do this then he could find himself a one year deal around $3-4 million.

However, that is all up in the air at this point. The main focus for Thomas is for him to prove to teams that he still has what is takes and that, hopefully, a team may take notice or else it’s back to Colorado for a permanent vacation.

Tim N. is a Boston Bruins writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @timnikolou