BOSTON (CBS) – Goaltender Tim Thomas could be back in the NHL very soon.
According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, the 39-year-old Thomas will get a tryout with the Florida Panthers, and if all goes well the team will sign him to an NHL contract. A deal could be finalized by Monday evening, if Thomas shows he still has it between the pipes.
Florida is looking to add a veteran netminder behind 23-year-old Jakob Markstrom, so they’re giving the two-time Vezina winner a shot.
Thomas took last season off, walking away from the final year of his four-year, $20 million pact with the Bruins 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.
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 in their plans.
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.
Should Thomas make the Panthers, he would return to Boston on November 7. The Bruins take on the Panthers in Florida on October 17.