Tim Thomas has been traded to the New York Islanders, reports say. While the Bruins themselves have not released an official statement, the twitter account @eklund broke the news. Shortly thereafter, Tim Thomas’ trade was confirmed by multiple news outlets. According to Bob McKenzie at TSN, all the Bruins will receive in return for Thomas is a second-round draft pick in either 2014 or 2015 and extra cap space his contract was consuming. However, the B’s will only be able to receive the pick if he actually reports to the Islanders or the Islanders trade his rights.
Originally a fan favorite for his role in the Bruins’ 2011 Stanley Cup victory and his acrobatic, often ludicrous saves, Thomas slowly fell out of favor with Bruins nation for his off-the-ice actions.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Thomas decided to retire from hockey, citing a desire to spend some time focusing on other priorities. In a statement, he said, “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 expected, this didn’t sit well with Bruins fans, who reacted with outrage and disgust. Distaste for Thomas snowballed quickly when he bailed on the team’s celebratory visit to the White House, citing politics reasons, then took to his Facebook page to air his opinions on topics like birth control and the government in general. In addition, he expressed his support for Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy, who made inflammatory remarks about marriage equality and gay rights.
Until today, the Bruins honored Thomas’ request to take a break from hockey, and kept him on the roster in case he wanted to return and the Bruins were in need of a goaltender.
In doing so, Boston lost $5 million in cap space because Thomas signed to the team after turning 35.
Thomas did not return the Bruins loyalty in kind. According to Rant Sports, now-starting goalie Tuukka Rask tried to contact Thomas during the lockout to discuss the then-upcoming season, but “when he tried the number he had registered for the former other half of the tandem, he found it didn’t work anymore.”
Days before the season started, Thomas informed Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli that he wanted to play “next year,” meaning in the 2013/2014 season. At the time, Chiarelli did not divulge if that means with the Bruins or another team. We now know the answer.
Rask has done more than fill Thomas’ skates. Writes NESN:
Rask has been excellent in replacing Tim Thomas as the B’s No. 1 goalie, and the team’s 7-1-1 record to start the year reflects that. Rask enters Thursday sixth in the league in goals-against average, and a .922 save percentage to boot. Toss in a couple of shootout victories, and Rask has quickly built a strong resume that ranks him at or near the top of the Eastern Conference goalies.
So, where do you stand? Upset to see the veteran leave the team? Or happy to see him go?