Bruins: ‘Strong Possibility’ Thomas Takes Year Off

BOSTON (CBS) — The future of Tim Thomas in Boston seems very unclear — even to Thomas himself.

The 38-year-old netminder has approached the Bruins, telling them he is “seriously considering taking a year off,” according to general manager Peter Chiarelli.

The news was originally reported ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun.

Next season is the final year on Thomas’ four-year, $20 million contract, which he signed back in 2009. He is due to be paid $3 million next year but he will count for $5 million against the salary cap, even if he does not play.

READ: Bruins Sign Paille, Bourque

“[There’s a] strong possibility that he’ll be taking the year off,” Chiarelli said in a conference call on Friday.

The reasons for Thomas mulling a one-year break aren’t exactly known, though Chiarelli said that Thomas has hopes of making the U.S. Olympic team in 2014. Teammate Daniel Paille, also on the conference call due to his new contract, said Thomas “cares deeply about his family and that’s what he’s focusing on above everything else.”

“I respect what he’s trying to do, but yeah I was surprised originally,” Chiarelli added.

The news comes a day after CSNNE reported that Thomas had moved his family out of Massachusetts to Colorado during the past season.

Last season, Thomas played in 59 games, posting a 2.36 goals-against average (13th in NHL) and .920 save percentage (10th). He remained a top-10 netminder and made his fourth career All-Star team despite a dropoff from his Vezina-winning season the year previous (2.00 GAA, .938 save percentage), when he also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for posting a 1.98 GAA and .940 save percentage in 25 playoff games as the Bruins won the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins do have Tuukka Rask on the roster, who was the starting goaltender in 2009-10, though he is a restricted free agent. The team also has Anton Khudobin under contract.

“I’d be more than satisfied with Tuukka and Khudobin as our goaltenders,” Chiarelli said.

Thomas has been the subject of many trade rumors, given the presence of Rask on the roster and Thomas’ no-trade clause ending on July 1.

“He’s a world class goalie,” Chiarelli said of Thomas. “He’d help somebody in a big way if he decided to play.”

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