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BOSTON (CBS) — Tim Thomas claimed last June that he was walking away from the NHL in order to focus on friends, family and faith, his “three F’s.” A little more than a year later, Thomas has apparently filled up on his F’s, because he’s ready to return to the NHL.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie reported Monday afternoon that Thomas, 39, would soon be announcing his plans to return to the NHL. Shortly thereafter, a Twitter account for Bill Zito, Thomas’ agent, said, “Tim Thomas has asked me to explore possible options for next season. We’ll have no further comment at this time. Thanks.”
Regardless, it appears safe to believe that Thomas’ year away from the NHL will be just that. He never did say in his Facebook announcement last June that he planned to retire, only saying, “What does this portend for the future? We’ll see … God’s will be done.”
Thomas walked away from the final year of his four-year, $20 million pact with the Bruins last season, just 12 months after establishing his legacy as a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winner. It was a somewhat surprising turn of events, considering Thomas had just posted a respectable .920 save percentage and 2.36 goals-against average before the Bruins’ seven-game loss to the Washington Capitals in the first round of the playoffs.
He’s stayed out of the public’s eye since then, except for his occasional Facebook posts. He joined the controversial national debate last summer by lending his vocal support to Chick-Fil-A’s president Dan Cathy, a situation that opened up Thomas to as much criticism as he faced earlier that year, when he elected to skip the Bruins’ trip to be honored at the White House by President Barack Obama.
With Tuukka Rask handling the starting goaltender job without an issue, the Bruins were able to trade Tim Thomas’ contract to the New York Islanders during the lockout-shortened season. The Islanders had the option of “tolling” Thomas’ contract, thereby keeping him under their control next season, but that was not and is not in their plans.
After spending a year away from the NHL, Thomas is likely due for a significant pay cut, especially with the salary cap going down next season.
Thomas may also be hoping to once again make Team USA in the Olympics this upcoming winter. He served as Ryan Miller’s backup in 2010, but he’ll face stiff competition from Miller, Jonathan Quick, Craig Anderson, Cory Schneider and Jimmy Howard for 2014.
Thomas has played in 378 games in the NHL, all with the Bruins from 2002-12, posting a 196-121-45 record, .921 save percentage and 2.48 GAA. He was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a 1.98 GAA and .940 save percentage during the Bruins’ run to the Stanley Cup in 2011. He also won the Vezina Trophy in 2009 and ’11 as the league’s best goaltender.