Well, love him or hate him, Tim Thomas will not be playing for the Bruins next season. A move that was predicted through trade rumors and the bad blood between player and club over this last season. Thomas’ characteristic abnormal thinking has lead to him confirming he will sit out next season. The Bruins will swallow his $5Mil cap this year, and the club will move on. Tuukka was a large question mark after the overtime loss to Washington. He currently serves as a RFA to the team this off season. What does Thomas sitting out a year mean for the club?
Tuukka Gets the Starting Role
Tuukka is no stranger to being the starting goaltender of an NHL hockey club. You may recall, he was the number one guy throughout the 2009-2010 season when Thomas’ play wasn’t quite up to par. That year Tuukka led the league in goals against average. The Bruins made a great Cup run that year too before (and dare I say) losing four straight during a 3-0 lead to the Flyers.
Anton Khudobin has very limited NHL experience but between his time with the Wild and the Bruins he has proved himself capable. In 7 NHL games he has an outstanding 5-1 record, 96.2 Save%, and a 1.32GAA. Sounds like someone deserving of their shot.
Thomas Won’t Be Traded This Season
Probably the biggest reason why you’re seeing Chris Kelly (and Gregory Campbell) getting such big long deals for vets is the fact the Bruins can no longer move Tim Thomas. Everyone heard the rumors, Thomas, Lucic, and a pick for Nash or that the Bruins would move Thomas for smaller considerations in hopes to open up Cap space for Zack Parise. To get a decent return for accepting a move that would include a superstar goalie who won’t play would be much to high for the Bruins to simply get anything close to what he’s worth. Or the Bruins would be required to dump him for a marginal return just to clear his Cap.
Don’t Expect a Superstar in Boston
Unless you’re committed to trading Milan Lucic or David Krecji and one of the Bruins many prospects, I wouldn’t expect to see a big name in Boston this year. According to capgeek.com, the Bruins have just over $5Mil in cap room this upcoming season. Parise will be looking for at least 7Mil this offseason and although trading away a Lucic or Krecji for Nash would make cap room, the Bruins don’t have enough to send with him.
Unless of course you give up a Tyler Seguin, Dougie Hamilton, Brad Marchand, Ryan Spooner, or Jared Knight. Lets be realistic though, Tyler Seguin has natural tallent that SHOULD keep him in a Bruins uniform his entire career. Likely that we see any of the other names moved? I’d say so, it could happen, but I don’t think it will.
Expect This Year’s Bruins to Resemble the Last
In closing, I don’t think it will be a very pro-active summer for the B’s. The Thomas sabbatical really hurts the Bruins chances in a big free agent or a big move. Parise would have to take a substantial pay cut to sign with a contender like the Bruins. After the season New Jersey just had, it appears they can be contenders too. I expect to see Jordan Caron, Jared Knight, and Ryan Spooner to make a push for a more permeant role at the big club. Knight and Spooner are reached AHL eligibility for the upcoming season so we may see flashes of them this year.