Stop me if you've heard this one before: The Philadelphia Flyers are looking at signing a past-his-prime veteran.
It's a strategy the team has used in the past to varying degrees of success. The target this time around is former Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas.
NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks reported that if Thomas ends his self-imposed hiatus, Philadelphia would likely be the new destination:
If Thomas does come back, people around league almost see it as a foregone conclusion that he will land in Philadelphia. Speculation is running wild that the Flyers may have already met with Thomas, and made a pitch to him last week about returning to hockey.
Of course, Thomas would be an upgrade over Ilya Bryzgalov. If that were the only criteria, though, the Flyers would be upgrading by suiting up Ron Hextall again.
Thomas does have a nice resume. He has won the Vezina Trophy on two occasions (2009 and 2011) and the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2011. Thomas was a massive part of the Boston Bruins winning the Stanley Cup in 2011.
However, the Thomas the Flyers would get in 2013 is not the same Thomas from a couple of years ago.
The Hockey News' Adam Proteau best summed up what should be the reaction for Flyers fans.
Tim Thomas reportedly considering a return to the NHL. Flyers fans definitely considering finding Paul Holmgren and hiding his phone.— Adam Proteau (@Proteautype) July 1, 2013
Thomas would be a headache off the ice and not make up for that with his performance on the ice. The 39-year-old has courted controversy in the past for opening his mouth a little too much although Thomas is free to say and believe what he wants. That's his right.
However, his personality and beliefs create unnecessary problems and distractions.
Philadelphia is just moving on from one goaltender who was far from a calming influence and whose agent publicly criticized players and management, as noted by USA Today's Randy Miller. Now it could be looking at another goaltender who is not afraid to speak his mind.
Should the Flyers sign Tim Thomas?
Perhaps if the Flyers could count on Thomas' production, he could be worth it. Instead, they would be adding a 39-year-old goaltender who has taken a year off, and Thomas is no spring chicken.
What are the odds that a player as old as Thomas could take a year break and come back to the ice the same player as he was when he left?
You also have to take into account what effect this move could have on Philadelphia's other goaltenders.
The playing time the Flyers would give Thomas would take away playing time from Steve Mason.
Only 25 years old, Mason needs to be the unquestioned starter going into next season. He didn't have a great end to his time with the Columbus Blue Jackets after his phenomenal rookie season, but that doesn't mean anyone should write him off completely.
Mason is still young enough and has the talent to succeed in the NHL. By signing Thomas, how much would Philadelphia be hurting his development?
The market for goaltenders is pretty thin at this point, and anybody would be better than Bryzgalov, but Thomas is just not worth the hassle.