(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Well, as all of you know by now, Tim Thomas has been resigned with the Boston Bruins for four more years. This deal will extend until the end of the 2012-2013 season and Thomas will be 39 years old at deals end.
$20 million over four years. Being top heavy, Thomas will make $6 million over the next two seasons, $5 million in year three and $3 million in year four.
Now at first thought you say to yourself, "WOW! this is fantastic!" We are locking up a top goaltender in the NHL
for four more years. Of course, there is also the angle that nobody deserves this more than a long time journeyman like Thomas. However, maybe not so fast.
This year, the Bruins
have been able to take the top seed in the conference, thanks to their young talent and great top six forwards. Yes, the defense and Thomas have been stellar, but the forwards need to get a lot of credit. Last year, the Bruins were challenged when it came to putting the puck in the net. Now, not so much.
So, as big a Bruins fan as I am, I decided to do some homework. Now, remember those young guys that everyone has been raving about? The ones where everyone has said, hey the Bruins youth will keep us good for years to come, remember them?
Well, yes the may be young but, they're not that young. They have reached the point in their careers where they can enter free agency.
For example, this summer, Phil Kessel, Daivd Krejci, and Matt Hunwick will be restricted free agents. After the 2009-2010 campaign, Marc Savard, Milan Lucic, Michael Ryder and Blake Wheeler will be ready to test the free agent waters.
Those players are your top six forwards and then there is Hunwick, who could be a top four defensemen on this team for years to come. If you are locking up Thomas for $6 million per over the next two seasons then, needless to say, half of these guys are out.
Then it comes to the big two this summer, Krejci and Kessel. Who do you sign? The Bruins are tight against the cap as it is, and with this signing it looks like signing both may have flown by the wayside.
And the following year, when it is Lucic and Wheeler up for a renewal? Not to mention Savard, Ryder and a guy like Andrew Ference.
Now, I know this is a cap era and every team faces these issues, but the young talent is, supposedly, how we have come this far correct? How can we keep the young guns like Kessel, Krejci, Lucic and Wheeler in tact if $6 million is tied up in Thomas?
Then there is Tuukka Rask, the man who is supposedly ready to become the Bruins goalie of the future. Apparently, Peter Chiarelli doesn't think so, as Rask will now be looking at backing up over the next four seasons, at oh by the way, almost $3 million a year.
Now, don't get me wrong. I like Tim Thomas as much as the next guy, but doesn't this signing create some very interesting questions come July 1?
The hot stove will no doubt be sizzling this summer for the Bruins, as they may have to do some wheeling and dealing to make sure they can salvage keeping their young core in tact.