Tim Thomas Considering Sitting Out: Who Starts for Bruins?

Jacob Betzner@@JacobBetznerCorrespondent IIJune 1, 2012

Tim Thomas Considering Sitting Out: Who Starts for Bruins?

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    Boston Bruins management told NHL.com today that 38-year-old goaltender Tim Thomas is "seriously considering" sitting out next season.

    Thomas backstopped the Bruins to a 2011 Stanley Cup and won the Conn Smythe Trophy after posting a 1.98 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage in 25 postseason games.

    The former Vermont Catamount won his second Vezina Trophy last season.  He won his first Vezina in 2009 along with the William M. Jennings Trophy after his Bruins allowed the fewest goals in the NHL during the regular season.

    The Flint, Michigan native played in his fourth NHL All-Star game in five year in 2012.

    If Thomas stands by his statement and sits out the 2012-2013 NHL season, the Bruins need to find a new starter. 

    Many consider backup goaltender Tuukka Rask, Thomas' heir apparent.  The 25-year-old netminder even stole the starting job from Thomas in the 2009-2010 season.

    Alternatively, the Bruins might test the free agent or trade market in search of a new puck-stopper.

    Whether Rask or another goaltender guards the Bruins' goal next season, things might get interesting in Beantown.

Thomas Vokoun

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    Tomas Vokoun played pretty well for the Washington Capitals this season before sustaining an injury late in the year.

    With the emergence of Braden Holtby in the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs and another young goaltender named Michal Neuvirth in the mix, Vokoun's days with the Capitals are likely over.

    At 35, Vokoun will likely be looking for a multiple-year deal.  The Czech Republic native is likely taking offers from the KHL but might sign a one-term deal with the Bruins.

    If Vokoun can play well, there's reason to believe the Bruins could contend for another Stanley Cup (part of the reason why Vokoun signed with Washington for less than his market value last offseason).

    With Thomas gone for (supposedly) only a year, signing Vokoun to a short-term deal is ideal for both parties.

Jaroslav Halak/Brian Elliott

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    Jaroslav Halak played in 46 games this year, posting a 1.97 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage and recording six shutouts.

    His counterpart, Brian Elliott, posted a 1.56 goals-against average and a .940 save percentage and recorded a ridiculous nine shutouts in only 38 games.

    With the Blues in need of some offense, one of the St. Louis goaltenders might be on the move this offseason.

    Halak has two years left on his contract, and Elliott just signed a two-year extension with the Blues.

    Both would be a good fit for the Bruins, but it depends on what Boston would have to give up in return.

Cory Schneider

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    It's a good bet Cory Schneider won't remain a backup in Vancouver next season.  The restricted free agent is free to hear offers from other teams, if the Canucks don't match the dollar figure.

    The 25-year-old has only 17 losses in 68 NHL games.  He even has some playoff experience, getting the nod over the inconsistent Roberto Luongo in several games over the past two years.

    The X-factor? 

    Schneider grew up about 40 minutes away from Boston and played for the Boston College Eagles for three years.  Perhaps the prospect of playing for his hometown team will sway his decision.

    The Bruins might throw an offer Schneider's way, but it likely won't be as lucrative as some other teams' offers.

Tuuka Rask

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    Tuukka Rask proved his ability to be a starter in the NHL in the 2009-2010 season, going 22-12-5, posting a 1.97 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage with five shutouts.

    The 26-year-old is ready to be the Bruins goaltender of the future.  He's waited for two seasons now for another chance to start in the NHL.

    The Bruins will still need to sign a capable backup in case Rask falters, but it looks like the door is wide open for the 2005 first-round draft pick.

Tim Thomas

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    What if this is all a bunch of hooey?

    Tim Thomas is a fierce competitor.  At 38, he doesn't have many NHL seasons left.

    It's hard to believe Thomas is really going to sit out an entire year and then return at the age of 39 to be a starting NHL goalie.

    Thomas has a long offseason to figure everything out, and it's likely he'll play through the last year of his four-year, $20 million contract.