After taking spending seven straight seasons with the Boston Bruins, one of which involved a Stanley Cup ring, a Vezina Tropy and a Conn Smythe Trophy, Thomas took a hiatus from hockey. His return to the game was questionable, but over the summer he received a tryout from Florida. Soon after, he was signed to a one-year deal, and the comeback was complete.
Many expected Thomas to have a significant amount of rust to chip off, however he’s actually having himself quite a decent season. He currently holds a save percentage of .912, complemented with a 2.65 GAA. Neither stat is near the top of the league, but we’re talking about a 39-year-old goaltender who took an entire year off coming into this season. He’s also playing with the Panthers, who aren’t exactly built to contend this season.
Because of that lack of success currently taking place in Florida, rumors are slowly creeping up about the Panthers possibly trading Thomas. When asked about this, team GM Dale Tallon said a move like that isn’t in the cards.
“I have no intention of moving him,” said Tallon. However, he followed this by saying, “But if he came to me and wanted to move, that’s a different story.”
It would make a lot of sense to consider a Thomas trade for two very big reasons. One would be the aforementioned struggles of the team, as they’re currently only sitting above the last place Buffalo Sabres in the Eastern Conference. Technically, with eight points between them and a playoff spot, the Panthers aren’t out of it, but that mountain will be a little tougher to climb than it sounds.
Secondly, and most importantly, Thomas’ contract is ripe for a trade. It’s a one-year, $2.5 million deal, which is hardly anything remotely concerning for interested trade partners. However, a stipulation in said contract could also pose as a snag in any potential trade. Thomas has himself a no-movement clause, so he would need to approve any move made.
For what it’s worth, word is Thomas has thought about the idea of being traded, but no discussions have been made with the front office.
You have to think the veteran goalie could start leaning more towards a trade as the days pass. Fact is, his time in the league may not last a whole lot longer. It’s doubtful he wants to spend the final years of his career on a Florida team which is doubtful to make the playoffs. At the same time, as the deadline nears, more than a few clubs are going to look to shore up their netminder situation. Thomas comes cheap and on an expiring deal, so he’d be someone a lot of GMs would consider.
Thomas’ career has been a winding and fascinating story, and it’s very likely he wants at least one last shot at a Cup. He won’t get that with the Panthers this year, so a trade is something he may want to start campaigning for.