At the end of this past season Thomas informed the Bruins he planned on sitting out the 2012-13 season. Thomas laid it out for the rest of us on his Facebook page,
“At the age of 38, I believe it is time to put my time and energies into those areas and relationships that I have neglected. That is why at this time I feel the most important thing I can do in my life is to reconnect with the three F’s: Friends, Family, and Faith.”
As of now the Bruins are set to pay Thomas $3 million next season(which I believe he won’t see a dime of if he does in fact sit out) and absorb his $5 million cap hit. It’s the last year of Thomas’s contract and as you can tell thats a good chunk of cap used on a player that will not be suiting up.
The Bruins are right up against the salary cap as it stands today and have one of the largest payrolls in the NHL. They could also end up being over the salary cap or have more cap space depending on how the new CBA plays out.
The Bruins had been reportedly shopping Thomas in hopes a team attempting to reach the mandatory cap floor would want to take on his cap hit knowing full well he won’t be playing.
The CBA negotiations also have an affect on any trade the Bruins wish to make involving Thomas, because in the new CBA teams may not have to reach a mandatory cap floor and they may not be able to take on the contracts of players they know won’t be taking the ice. It’s the theme of the 2012 NHL offseason, “Wait and see about the CBA”.
Tim Thomas was a big part of the Boston Bruins 2011 Stanley Cup victory, during which he was awarded the Conn Smythe, an award bestowed upon the player deemed the best during the NHL playoffs. It was a playoff run in which he made the most saves of any goalie in the history of the NHL playoffs and also a run that saw the goalie play every minute of every game in what would become the longest playoff run in Bruins franchise history. Thomas also won the Vezina Trophy that year, an award given to the goalie who performs the best during the NHL regular season. He had previously won the Vezina in 2009.
After the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 2011 “controversy” found its way into the Bruins locker room the following season when Thomas declined to visit the White House and meet with President Barack Obama. It’s a trip most championship teams from most sports leagues in the United States make after winning their league’s respective title.
Thomas caught a lot of flack, warranted and unwarranted, for his politically charged decision not to attend the White House ceremony. Many teammates, coaches and personnel were stuck with answering endless questions about Thomas and his decision to skip the White House visit, because while he had no problem posting on his Facebook page about his decision, Thomas would not answer questions publicly.
Political stances aside, no one can argue that Tim Thomas is not a top tier NHL goaltender. He has the stats, records and hardware to prove it. His decision to sit out an entire NHL season is exactly that, his decision. Is it selfish? Yes, I believe it is, because it leaves the Bruins in a difficult situation and takes up valuable cap space on a team up against the cap but what are you going to do? Will he ever come back to the NHL? He claims he will and it’s my belief he will attempt to. Whether or not a team takes a chance on him is another story. Thomas has also expressed interest in playing for Team USA in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia. Good luck beating out Ryan Miller, Jonathan Quick, Corey Schneider and Jimmy Howard.
Thomas has always shown an ability to bounce back however, just look at how his career has played out and you’ll know. For now at least, the Boston Bruins are stuck with a player who will potentially not play for them this season and stuck with his $5 million cap hit.
As always we welcome your comments and insight below. Feel free to follow Billy Bryson on Twitter @BillyBrysonNHL and thanks for reading!