Word around the league currently is that Thomas is “seriously considering” taking the 2012-2013 season off. He has cited “family reasons” and “strain” as reasons.
Bruins’ GM Peter Chiarelli confirmed Friday that Bill Zito, Thomas’ agent, had approached him about the request. Thomas has no plans to go before the press with this, but he might post on Facebook about it.
As for the Bruins, they’re already gearing up their 2012-2013 game plan as if Thomas is not on the roster. They aren’t giving the goaltender a deadline, but will have to eat the $5 million cap hit if Thomas plays or not. After the 2012-2013 season, they’ll have the option to let the contract run out or roll it forward to the 2013-2014 season. At that time, the cap hit and salary would be the same.
“I’m disappointed. But these things happen and you’ve got to roll with them and you’ve got to deal with them,” Chiarelli said. “When someone talks about their family and stuff, you’ve got to respect that. That’s really all I can say on it. You’ve got to deal with it. I don’t think we’re too disabled on the cap side.”
Thomas helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup a year ago and was named the Conn Smythe winner.
The Bruins will go with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin in goal for the next season and will adjust to life without Thomas. With the goalie skipping out on the team’s White House visit for political reasons and now potentially skipping out on a contract season, one has to think his tenure in Beantown is about out of gas – and Chiarelli is about out of patience.
There are some options on the table for Boston. They can trade him – his no-trade clause expires on July 1 – and hope another team can convince him to play. Another option is to deal Thomas’ rights to a team looking to get to the salary cap floor.
Thomas isn’t retiring, that much is clear, and has been upfront about lacing the skates for Team USA at the Sochi Olympics in 2014. For now, he’s taking his pads and heading for home – leaving the Bruins holding a very expensive bag.