Everything you wanted to know about Tim Thomas and his possible decision to sit out next season, plus updates on pending Bruins UFAs Chris Kelly and Jim Corvo.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reported on how Bruins management would proceed if goalie Tim Thomas decides to sit out next season. GM Peter Chiarelli said the first thing he would due is suspend Thomas, which would remove him from the roster, though his salary would still count against their cap for next season as his contract falls into the “over-35” category.
Chiarelli could trade Thomas on July 1, when his movement clause expires and which Haggerty claims he was seriously considering prior to meeting with the goalie’s agent, but they wouldn’t get much of a return for a goalie who might not play part or all of next season. While Chiarelli doesn’t believe there’s anything fishy about Thomas’ potential decision, Haggerty speculates it could be a way to garner some leverage once his “no-movement” clause expires on July 1st. They could put him on waivers and demote him, but his salary would still count against their cap, and since his contract falls into the “over-35” category, they cannot buy him out. They could, however, “toll” his contract forward to 2013-14, which would prevent him playing anywhere but Boston. Haggerty believes, barring a change of mind on Thomas’ part, he won’t return to the Bruins.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch also believes Thomas’ days with the Bruins are done, suggesting the best option for the Bruins is to give a rival team (Toronto? Columbus? Tampa Bay? Chicago?) permission to speak with the goalie in hopes they can convince him to play next season, then try to work out a trade with the interested team he’d be willing to play for.
THE HOCKEY NEWS: Ken Campbell wonders if the Bruins are able to shed Thomas’ salary that they might take a run at acquiring Rick Nash from Columbus.
OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Bruins GM Peter Chiarelli is working on re-signing the bulk of his free agents, including UFA forward Chris Kelly.
CSNNE.COM: Joe Haggerty reports pending UFA blueliner Joe Corvo won’t be back with the Bruins.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Garrioch’s suggestion of allowing other clubs permission to speak with Thomas and then trying to work out a trade if he’s willing to play for any of them next season is the best way to go. I believe Haggerty’s point about Thomas garnering some leverage once his NMC expires is spot on. He may say it’s for family reasons, but if, as Haggerty claims, Chiarelli was thinking about trading him after July 1st, this is a good way to ensure a trade to a destination of Thomas’ choosing. If Thomas is successful, you can bet this will be something addressed in the upcoming CBA talks to ensure other players don’t employ a similar tactic.
Thomas definitely has a mind of his own and it sometimes works in mysterious ways, as his snubbing the White House last February made clear, and which he was wrong to do, regardless of his political beliefs. He obviously doesn’t seem worried about the damage to his legacy with the Bruins. Now, if he’s sincere about wanting to take a year off to deal with family matters, that’s a different story and I would certainly sympathize with that. Otherwise, this seems like a power-play on his part to control his future.