Tim Thomas Considering Sitting Next Season?

Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas is reportedly considering taking the entire 2012-2013 NHL season off.  This comes as a huge surprise to everyone as Thomas is in the prime of his career having won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goaltender twice in the last four years.

Thomas was the Bruins backbone in their Stanley Cup run last season.  Thomas compiled 35 regular season victories alongside a 2.00 GAA and a .938 SV%.  He even upped his game in the playoffs winning all 16 games with a 1.98 GAA and a .940 SV%.  Thomas was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

Thomas’ numbers dropped a little this season but he still had a tremendous season.  He led the Bruins to their second consecutive Northeast Division championship.  They lost in a tough seven game series in the first round to the Washington Capitals, but Thomas was not to blame for the team’s poor showing this post season.

Thomas dealt with controversy this season as he chose not to attend the Bruins White House ceremony common for every championship winning team.

If Thomas does sit the season out, the Bruins will still have his $5M cap hit weighing them down, but they may decide to suspend Thomas without pay.

In an interview earlier today, Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli spoke.  “Tim came to me toward the beginning of May through his agent, and said he is seriously considering taking the year off.  The reasons why, I’m not exactly sure. He gave us some reasons regarding his family, spending more time with them, which I can respect.  I know I’ve seen speculation about moving a goalie, but I’m certainly not inclined to do that.  Tim didn’t have statistically the year he had the year before, but I thought he had a very good year. We have, if not the best, one of the top goaltending tandems in the league.”  He later added, “I almost have to operate under the premise that he isn’t coming back.”

Losing Thomas for the season would obviously be a huge loss as he is their starting goaltender.  But, the Bruins lose more than just a goalie.  Thomas is a veteran voice in the locker room and has helped many of the young players, including his backup Tuukka Rask.  He is also a fan favorite and adored by the entire Garden crowd.  Thomas plays his heart out in net and many times, a few key saves can turn the entire game around.  Thomas may be replacable number wise by Rask but Rask isn’t in a position to bring everything Thomas could to the table.

Chiarelli has a pretty solid backup plan in their backup goaltender, Tuukka Rask.  He is a star just waiting for his opportunity to shine in the league.  In limited action over the past three seasons, Rask has put up an impressive 44-34-5 record.  He elevated his game to a new level this season with a 2.02 GAA and a .929 SV% but his season was cut short due to a lower abdomen/groin strain.

The Bruins recently signed Swedish goaltender Niklas Svedberg so he may be a big part of the picture moving forward if Thomas chooses to sit this season out.

In other Bruins news, they have resigned forward Daniel Paille to a 3 year, $3.9M contract.  They also signed RFA Chris Bourque, the son of legendary Bruins defenseman Ray Bourque, to a 1 year, 2-way ($500,000 NHL, $200,000 AHL) contract.

How will the potential loss of Tim Thomas affect the Bruins this upcoming season?

More to Come..

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