Tim Thomas. Whatever you think of him he has been one of the more polarizing players in recent NHL history. Thomas helped carry the Boston Bruins to its first Stanley Cup win in almost forty years back in 2011. (Whatever you think of his politics or his antics Bruins Nation, you can always love the HOCKEY player and freely hate the hockey PLAYER.) Then he refused the White House invite, had a few public rants on thoughts that were certainly right of center, and then chose (for whatever reason you’d like to believe) to step away from the NHL for the 2012-13 season.
Tim Thomas still wants to play NHL hockey. At the moment though, he’s still in free agency limbo waiting for someone to give him a call. Thomas was probably hoping to get his own crease back in Boston, but that’s not going to happen. Tuukka Rask has been locked up long enough for Malcolm Subban to complete his adjustment to the AHL and likely the NHL level of play. Barring a series of disasters at the TD Garden it’s now quite clear that Tim Thomas will only wear a Bruins jersey at some reunion special held by the Bruins.
At the moment, no other teams are calling either. It doesn’t look likely that any team will ask Tim Thomas to play at the start of the 2013-14 season. There are possibilities for Thomas coming in to help a team with injuries or goalie problems though. Whatever you think of his politics, Thomas is a two time Vezina winner. He was the winning goal tender for four All Star games, and there is that Stanley Cup ring of his. While his age (39) might be a problem for some teams, especially after sitting out a season…many teams have been quick to sign players who have lost a season to injuries.
Teams like the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers could use a serious goaltender to alleviate their current problems. Both teams would still have the necessary cap space to land Thomas (as long as Thomas is willing to discount his services factoring in age and lack of recent play), and their crease police have had problems.
In lieu of that, the chances of seeing Tim Thomas on the ice aren’t zero. While the Bruins look to have solid goaltending next season, the same can’t be said of many teams in the league, and they might give Thomas a call to fill in the hole, or even take over as a primary goaltender. I know this isn’t the popular opinion, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Thomas in the ‘spoked B’ just one more time before he hangs up the pads and heads off into the sunset.