What now for Thomas?

Tim Thomas got his first NHL opportunity in Boston. He played in Providence for the Bruins’ AHL club. He spent four years in Burlington, Vt., starring for the University of Vermont. He makes his year-round home north of Boston.

The native of Flint, Mich., considers himself a New Englander. But that status may be in doubt, considering the changing of the guard that took place this season.

“Certainly different than any other experience I’ve had as a pro,’’ Thomas said of 2009-10, when the reigning Vezina Trophy winner found himself on the bench for the entire postseason, supplanted in the Boston goal by Tuukka Rask. “It was challenging. You go through these types of situations and years. You’ve just got to try to find the lessons out of them and find a way to make yourself a better pro goaltender and a better person.’’

It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. Thomas was projected to retain the No. 1 job, perhaps into 2011-12, with Rask gradually seeing more and more action.

But with Rask grabbing the starting job and projected to be the go-to goalie in 2010-11, the future is unclear for Thomas, who will enter the second season of his four-year, $20 million contract, which includes a no-trade clause. If Rask plays himself into the starting role again next season, it would not be prudent to have Thomas and his $5 million annual salary growing moldyon the bench.

For Thomas, a move — and a waiving of his no-trade — could put him back into a No. 1 position. It is a scenario that Thomas said he has not had time to consider.

“After the kind of drought that Boston’s had and the way this year’s playoffs ended up, it would be poetic justice if the Bruins could get over that hump and really accomplished the ultimate goal of winning a Cup,’’ Thomas said. “A certain part of me, for sure, would like to be here for that. It’s part of the whole thinking process that has to go into it. That’s nowhere near complete.’’

Trading Thomas , however, may not be so simple. While new Panthers general manager Dale Tallon may rethink the issue, Florida had made it known that Tomas Vokoun is available in trade. The 33-year-old Vokoun (23-28-11, 2.55 goals-against average, .925 save percentage) is due $5.7 million next season. Goalies who will reach unrestricted status July 1 include Marty Turco , Chris Mason , Evgeni Nabokov , and Dan Ellis . Carey Price will be a restricted free agent, but the Canadiens will be sure to make Jaroslav Halak , who will also be an RFA, their first priority.

http://www.boston.com/sports/hockey/bruins/articles/2010/05/19/what_now_for_thomas/


28 Responses to What now for Thomas?

  1. hockeyhead says:

    what was PC on when he signed thomas to that contract?

    good luck trading him now.

  2. nordiques100 says:

    won the vezina

    an absolute major fan favorite in Boston.

    he had no choice but to re-sign him.

    its lose lose for chiarelli. he signed, lost his job to rask and now people think he is stupid for signing him.

    if he didnt, and lost him for nothing, he'd be an idiot to give up on the reigning vezina winner and have zero to show for it.

  3. Boston_Bruins says:

    Not sure who plays NHL here but for NHL 11 they're adding CHL teams this year. Maybe I'm just a hockey/video game nerd but I think this is HUGE news. The one thing hockey games have been lacking I think is a better prospect system. No more random names.

  4. Boston_Bruins says:

    Agreed. No one knew Rask would be this good this soon. Ideally you'd like to have seen a shorter term, but this was Thomas' first big contract so I'm guessing his agent would've been pretty stubborn in negotiations.

  5. futurebruin says:

    Yea, the random names have always annoyed me.  Like, why can't you take a little bit of time and add in some junior league teams?  Also, I'm a it upset.  I submitted a pretty sweet revamp of the Anaheim Ducks and HTR won't post it.

  6. Dunski23 says:

    I personally don't see Thomas getting moved in the off-season. The market has a lot of goalies available for a lot less money. I think most teams looking for a goalie will go that route before trading for Thomas. I, however, also don't see Thomas making it through the year as a Bruin. As the year goes on I see some of the cheaper route goalie signings failing or some team having a devastating goalie injury. I see Thomas getting moved closer to the deadline. This could be good for Boston because right now Thomas' value is low. At the deadline a desperate GM could give Boston a far better package then what Thomas could fetch over the summer. I also don't believe the B's can sign all 3 of their FA D-men (*****ing Ference Deal) I think The B's will sign Seidenberg and Boychuk. Those two are UFA's (Boychuk's status just changed to UFA). They can then trade Stuart's rights for either picks or prospects.

    In the offseason I'd like to see the B's Sign these players
    Sobotka  3 yrs / 750K per
    Thornton Whatever / 550K per
    Boychuk 3 yrs / 1.75M Per
    Seids 4 yrs / 3.5 Per
    Wheels 3 yrs / 2.5 per
    McQuaid 2 yrs / 650K per
    Recchi (if he doesn't retire) 1 yr / 1M
    Seguin (because i don't believeTambellini will pass on Hall) Rookie contract + 2.6M Bonus
    Trade Ryder to NJ for the rights to David Clarkson
    sign Clarkson 2 yr / 2M per

    Lines (to Start the Season)

    Lucic (4.083)  Savard (4.007)   Seguin (3.450) – 11.54M
    Wheels (2.5)  Krejci (3.750)  Clarkson (2.0) – 8.25M
    Sobotka (.750)  Bergeron (4.750)  Recchi (1.0) – 6.5M
    Thornton (.550) Whitfield (.550)  Marchand (.590) – 1.69M
    Sturm (3.5) (starts season on IR when he returns his cap is lowered i believe, but not sure)

    Chara (7.5)  Seidenberg (3.5) – 11M
    Wides (3.875)  Boychuk (1.75) – 5.625M
    Ference (2.25)  McQuaid (.650) – 2.9M
    Hunwick (1.45)

    Rask (1.25) Thomas (5) – 6.25M

    Total Cap Hit 55.115 + whatever Sturm's Cap Hit actually is.
    Doesn't look all that good, but to me that looks like about the best team the B's will be able to have with their cap problems…(and it's generous from a B's fans point of view)

    Now to explain some of the stuff i suggested:

    Clarkson Trade:
     NJ is looking like they won't be able to resign Kovie. They could use some second tier scoring to cover the loss. Ryder is in a contract year which could light a fire under his ass. Also, in NJ there will be other players for teams top D to worry about. With severe injuries to Boston's first line the Krejci, Wheeler, Ryder line saw a lot a other teams top D pairs. In NJ Ryder won't be THE guy so he'll have more favorable match ups. I feel that is a big problem for him. It happened in MTL where teams could focus on him and not have to worry about their secondary scoring. First year in Boston teams focused on Lucic, Savard, Kessel so Ryder flourished. Second year in Boston that "shield" was gone and top pairs shut him (and that entire line) down. Boston gets a true agitator (not like Begin who didn't get the job done) Thing is Clarkson has pretty good skill to go along with his style of play. I consider him a version (not quite on the same level) of Burrows. I think giving him a chance to play with Krejci will be good for him. He showed it this year in an injury plagued season. I think in a full season with Krejci he could really flourish….( and he won't be as invisible as Ryder). Bruins also get  a little cap help to spend else where.

    Resigning Wheeler
    I think people are hating on Wheeler because they got their hopes up way too high after last season. He was an easy scapegoat because of his size and seemingly unwillingness to use it. HE'S NOT THAT TYPE OF PLAYER. Kid has amazing hands and good creativity and vision. He is also young and still getting used to the NHL game. Boston has a history of getting rid of good young guys who don't learn as fast  as everyone thinks they should…(Brad Boyes). Wheeler's stats dropped this year…but so didn't the entire teams. look at last years stats and this years….if you do the math Wheeler's production dropped less percentagely  then any of the teams other "skilled" players. he scored only 3 less goals and only 4 less assists. For a team that scored far fewer goals then their previous year that isn't too bad. He also spent a lot of the season on the 3rd and 4th lines…if the B's had stuck with him up top he probably would've surpassed last year's totals…but that goes unnoticed to a lot of fans.

    Sobotka on LW, Whitfield C
    A lot of people want to see Sobotka play Center on the 4th line, I think that wastes his talents. Whitfied is a career 4th liner/AHLer and he's already signed for next season. Sobotka also played on that line in the playoffs on the LW and looked pretty good. This gives a heart and soul guy with good skill a chance to excel with great linemates. I think it would be a waste of Sobotka's talents to play him on the 4th line even if it's his natural position. I also think his style of play really fits that third lines assets. He's good defensively yet has a nose for the puck. He isn't afraid to play in the dirty areas of the ice. I feel that line would be absolute hell to play against for other teams. It could suffocate teams Defensively, as well as, spend long periods of team in the offensive zone with the ability to score those ugly demoralizing goals. Whitfield is already here and having him play on the fourth line i feel is smarter then bringing up a Colbourne of Hamill.

    Other thoughts (mostly for the fourth line)
    1 – Instead of putting Marchand on the RW you could put Hunwick there, since i figured him to be the 7th DMan. He showed good offensive skill and the ability to play wing in season's passed. It would be a way to utilize his skills (and make use of his Cap Hit) instead of having him rot as a healthy scratch until he is needed to fill in on D.

    2 – Say screw it and not resign Thornton (or sign him and have him as the 13th forward) and have an all skill all rookie 4th line. It would never happen (I don't think) but it would be interesting. Just throw  a line of Marchand Colbourne and Caron out there lol. Not sure what the bonuses and salary would be (could screw up this plan), but it would be one hell of an element of surprise. All three look to be future long time contributors for the B's. Why not give em 8-10 Minutes a game together to gel and get used to the NHL. All three are very skilled. Play the line at home to get the match ups Claude wants. Have them just eat up teams bottom lines. Pretty far fetched, but if it worked it could pay big dividends for a team that doesn't have top tier scoring. You could also have Lehtonen or Sauve as the LW since that's not Marchand's natural position. Like I said far fetched, but a thought indeed.

  7. Tachmo says:

    I agree, Thomas has never really gotten proper credit from anyone. Even his own team doubted him for a year or two before saying, man this guy is really good and he is our #1. The year he won the Vezina, Manny Fernandez was the opening day #1. I don't see any teams taking what they believe to be a chance on acquiring Thomas.

    I like the option of a Brian Campbell/Thomas swap. Boston would add some extra salary, however they wouldn't need to sign Seidenberg. I didn't get a chance to really see Seidenberg play much, but I think he is pretty good.

  8. Tachmo says:

    I don't get why 1st rounders get so many bonuses? It is crazy. Does a 18 year old really need to make 3.4 million? What the hell, that is 600k less than Savard. Same thing with Wheeler and Rask. Isn't a million total good enough?

  9. Magleaves says:

    Ive been waiting for this for years.

    thanks for the great news.

  10. DannyLeafs says:

    I like it for the most part, but I don't think you can count on Seguin to be a top six forward next year. Most scouts figure he needs another year of Junior, and that was when people thought he could go to a real bottom feeding team, so I don't think he should be expected to crack the B's lineup next year. I do agree that he will almost definitely be the Bruins pick, and I even think he will end up being the better player, I just don't think he is quite NHL ready.

    I also don't think the Devils will trade Clarkson's rights for Ryder. Personally I see Ryder as having negative value, in that everybody Know's Chiarelli would like to deal him, so nobody is likely to give up much for him, much less a young RFA who would actually crack the lineup. Beside that, I think Clarkson has as much offensive upside as Ryder, and he does all the little things well, so even aside from the salary I don't think Ryder for Clarkson makes much sense. 

  11. Boston_Bruins says:

    You have to remember that the Bruins don't go with a Leafs top-6/bottom-6 type of set-up where all of the skill guys are in the top 6 and all of the role players are in the bottom 6. They roll 3 skill lines so I think you could work Seguin in right away without asking too much from him.

    Another thing no one is talking about is Carl Soderberg. Chiarelli says it finally looks like he'll come to North America. If people don't know Soderberg, I'd basically describe him as Wheeler with hockey sense and more of a scoring touch from what I've heard and seen. If they can bring him over, let Wheeler and Paille walk, resign Recchi, Thornton and Sobotka, draft Seguin and find a way to trade Ryder, their lineup could be:

    Lucic-Savard-Seguin
    Sturm-Bergeron-Recchi
    Soderberg-Krejci-Caron
    Thornton-Sobotka-Marchand

    Although technically Seguin would be on the first line, those minutes would be spread pretty evenly over the first three lines, and even the fourth line would get their fair share of minutes in an energy role. Sauve would be down in Providence as the first replacement if Seguin or Caron is out of place. If he himself is out of place bring a guy like Whitfield back.

    A benefit of having alot of cheap contracts would leave more room to shore uup the defence (THomas would probably need to go though).

  12. Boston_Bruins says:

    I'm sure that it wasn't a matter of putting time into it but rather reaching an agreement with the CHL.

  13. Boston_Bruins says:

    I disagree with a few things here. The biggest one is Wheeler. I'm not worried about his stats, I just can't stand his waste of potential. He is so big and fast but he has next to no scoring touch and has absolutely no hockey sense. On top of that he's as soft as can be. The only thing I liked about his game this year was that he started using his size and reach to become a better defensive player and on the PK, but with so many players taht can do that we don't reall need him.

    I'm fully with the "replace Wheeler with Soderberg" camp.

  14. Boston_Bruins says:

    Why do you think Seguin isn't NHL-ready BTW?

  15. Boston_Bruins says:

    At least it isn't as bad as the NFL. Jamarcus Russel (just released by Oakland) collected $31.5 million guarunteed in his contract. And every year there's a new all-time high for contracts.

  16. Boston_Bruins says:

    No to Campbell!!!! 6 more years at over $7 million per? That's a contract that can tear teams apart. Probably the worst contract in the league. Having watched Seidenberg in Boston I was hugely impressed. Miles better than any defenseman on the team besides Chara.

  17. DannyLeafs says:

    I was pretty excited about this as well. I never understood why EA would spend so much time on getting the names or Swedish elite league teams players and have never bothered with Junior league players. It makes so much more sense, since most people don't even play as those other teams anyway, and they have not effect on the actual NHL season. It would be nice if they had just transferred all that work to a league that NHL fans could actually care about, and that even if they didn't, it would still lead players being drafted in franchise mode that will actually be drafted in the NHL down the road.

    Also, I am not purely putting down the Swedish league when I say almost nobody plays them, it is also a fault of the developers. They make the teams so much weaker and slower and less fun to play as that even if you were a huge fan of those teams it would actually be annoying to play as them.

    And, I don't think you have to worry about being judged to harshly for being Geeky on this site, I mean its community is made up of guys (myself included) who spend hours looking up trade rumors, salary situations, and cap rules so they can write long threads on what teams should target in free agency and via trade. So I think it is pretty safe to say there isn't anyone who is going to call you out on any geeky tendencies lol

  18. Boston_Bruins says:

    It's easy to say that from a North American-centric view but adding in all the otehr leagues is pretty smart when you're trying to market it across the world.

    Haha and so true about your last comment.

  19. futurebruin says:

    All i can tell you about the bonuses of the rookies is that Colborne's cap hit would be 1.3 with bonuses I believe.  And Marchand's cap hit is $755K after bonuses.  Sadly, I can't figue out Caron's cap number.

  20. cam7777 says:

    Caron and Colborne's cap hits are 1.1 million, while Marchand's is 822K.  Check it out:

    http://www.capgeek.com

  21. Tachmo says:

    yah. i just checked out Campbell's contract and that is a tad disgusting. He is locked up to 2016. He has been a huge force on the blueline in these playoffs. But that 7.14 million per is huge.

    Wheeler is a panty. He was playing like a man on fire last year for a period. I don't know what happened to that kind of play? He does not go to the tough areas. It is hard to score goals at any level when you stick to the perimeter and don't get into the tough areas and don't go to the net. After saying all that I think he still has some potential. I'd like to see them resign him at a maxium 2 mil per. Anything more he should be traded.

    Does anyone know the timeline on Colbourne? Is Hammil ever going to play in the NHL? Was Soderberg acquired by Toivonen? I wish they didn't draft a zillion centerman when they did.

  22. DannyLeafs says:

    Many scouts and analysts have said they don't believe he is physically capable of transitioning to the NHL yet so throw in the fact that he will actually go to a team with some depth and not a weak one, and he may be better off in Junior again. Also, I just don't think it will be worth it for the Bruins to just throw him in that lineup yet. What will he really accomplish in his rookie year next season? Even if he has a solid 20 goal 50 point season, is that really worth the risk?

    Also, the Bruins Salary situation is precarious, if he plays next year they need to re-sign him a year earlier, also his cap hit would then likely be 3.75 million next season, which is likely going to be a little high for his production. I think it would be better for the Bruins to leave him in Junior and bring him into the line up after the salary situation settles itself a little. ie. when Bergeron is likely re-signed to a more cap friendly amount, when Ryder is gone, and after the Bruins have had a little more time to possibly move Thomas.

    Also, it's not that I don't think he could be NHL ready, just that I wouldn't base a rebuild for next year around him playing big minutes. It is possible he gets a long look, but for a team with aspirations of contending for the cup, it would probably make sense to have an alternative to depending on a rookie. The Bruins are a solid team and will likely show more patience with him than teams that would normally have the 2nd overall pick. To me it only makes sense that they don't put that kind of pressure on him right away.

  23. DannyLeafs says:

    I understand the intent of adding non-North American teams, but my problem has been with the execution thus far. I just think if I was a getting this game and was excited to play as my favourite Swedish elite league team that I would be so disappointed when I played my favourite players against a team from the NHL and they were all completely inferior to every player in the NHL. It is really silly, they make all of their stats way too low, and it makes it so unplayable. The game makes it seem as though there are virtually no players in these leagues that are NHL calibre, so I just think it is pointless to have them in the game.

  24. Dunski23 says:

    If the B's do bring back Bergy, which I believe they will, one other positive is the Bruins could send Seguin back to juniors under the condition he is played at the wing. Give him a year to get used to the position.  When he enters the lineup in 11/12 it will be less of a learning curve, which I think will benefit him and the team in the long run

  25. hockeyhead says:

    i dont know how much of a favorite thomas is.

    the bruins message board that i frequent is filled with thomas haters.

    the local sports radio show bashes that contract daily.

    the guy is 35 years old and a reflex goalie????????????????????

    how DID THEY NOT know tuukka was going to be ready.

    he spent two years in the AHL and has been talked about as the next major goalie for sometime.

    bruins front office is rediculous.

    sign ferrence to a major deal when you have better defensemen left to sign.

    oh dont get me started.

  26. futurebruin says:

    Lucic – Savard – Seguin
    Clarkson – Krejci – Perron
    Sobotka – Bergeron – Recchi
    Marchand – Colborne – Caron

    Seidenberg – Boychuk
    Stuart – Pietrangelo
    Kampfer – Ference

    Rask – Thomas

    To STL: Zdeno Chara
    To BOS: Alex Pietrangelo, David Perron, Lars Eller, 1st in 2010 (14th overall)

    Somehow, someway, dump all of Ryder, Hunwick, and Wideman.

    This defintiely fits under the cap.  I know for a fact.

  27. Boston_Bruins says:

    Colborne is a long-term prospect. I see him as a guy that will be boom or bust. Other guys like Caron and Sauve are much more NHL-ready now, but I think Colborne has teh potential to be an elite player if he develops well. He's developing just fine right now. No need to rush him.

    Hamill has tons of hockey IQ and offensive ability but he just hasn't impressed in Providence and might be too small and not fast enough to play with the big boys right now. I wouldn't call him a bust yet though. Give him some more time.

    Soderberg was acquired for Toivonen.

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