Boston Bruins: Why No Tim Thomas Is Actually a Good Thing
Unlike most teams who lose a top five goaltender, the Bruins have another netminder capable of keeping the team at the same championship level in Tuukka Rask.
Barring any unforeseen events, Rask and Anton Khudobin will enter their first season as the goaltending tandem in Boston. It's a tandem head coach Claude Julien believes in.
There’s no doubt, nobody’s going to deny what Tim’s done here for our hockey club over the years but we’ve mentioned that Tuukka is a very capable goaltender. He’s got his opportunity to showcase that this year and I think when I saw Khudobin play, whether it was training camp or whether it was when he was with us that game in Ottawa, practice, you can see a goaltender who has not only improved but has matured. And I honestly have a lot of confidence in our goaltending and, you know, obviously, we drafted, we’ve signed a few goaltenders as well. I think our depth is there. I don’t really see that as an issue. And that’s because I have the confidence in what I have in front of me right now.
Many of the Bruins' core players have yet to reach the prime of their careers, so the team needs to make sure that Rask is the right man for the No. 1 goalie job going forward. Thomas' departure makes this evaluation easier to do.
Are the Bruins better without Tim Thomas heading into the 2012-13 season?
Even though he had tremendous success in Boston, Thomas only led the Bruins beyond the second round of the playoffs one time in the four postseason appearances in which he was a starter.
Thomas' absence from the dressing room should also be a benefit to the team.
In an election year, it's hard to imagine Thomas keeping quiet and not posting anything regarding politics and other issues on his Facebook page leading up to the Presidential election on November 6. More Facebook posts would have created even more unneeded distractions and headaches that the Bruins players and management shouldn't have to deal with during the season, or any time for that matter.
Aside from Thomas' political beliefs, now that he is taking a year off, the team has the option of trading him.
If there is still a salary cap and floor in the new CBA, it's definitely possible that the Bruins could free up cap space by moving the 38-year-old goaltender's $5 million cap hit. Two teams currently under the cap floor are the Phoenix Coyotes and New York Islanders.
If the Bruins continue to struggle on the power play, or have a key player suffer an injury again, they will need cap space, because according to Capgeek.com, Boston has fewest amount of cap room in the league at $1,332,024.
If Thomas was playing next season, the Bruins probably wouldn't trade him, and as a result, the team would have limited options at the trade deadline because they are so close to the cap.
Thomas leaving the team will give Boston the opportunity to begin their long-term plan for success, which starts with Rask being the starting goaltender for many seasons to come. Trading him also would give the Bruins more flexibility at the trade deadline if Peter Chiarelli needs to make a move to help the team contend for the Stanley Cup.
Not often is a team better off when a two-time Vezina Trophy winner leaves unexpectedly after a tough ending to the season. But in the Bruins' case, losing Thomas is a good thing, and will allow the franchise to finally move forward.
Nicholas Goss is an NHL Lead Writer at Bleacher Report. He was also the organization's on-site reporter for the 2011 Stanley Cup Final in Boston, and has covered the Bruins since the 2010-11 season. Follow him on Twitter. Quote obtained from Bruins media website.
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