Is Boston Bruins' Tim Thomas on His Way Out of Boston?

Ryan PickardCorrespondent IFebruary 7, 2010

SAN JOSE, CA - JANUARY 14:   Tim Thomas #30 of the Boston Bruins looks on against the San Jose Sharks during an NHL game at the HP Pavilion on January 14, 2010 in San Jose, California.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Boston Bruins are mired in a 10-game losing streak. Today, they lost to the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout after leading 2-0. They find themselves 11th in the Eastern Conference, but just two points out of a playoff spot.

Their recent losing streak has forced Peter Chiarelli to start exploring trade possibilities. Plenty of people were calling for him to pull the trigger and bring in Ilya Kovalchuk. The Atlanta Thrashers winger would have given the Bruins a premier scorer. Instead, Kovalchuk went to the Devils and the Bruins have been left to pursue other options.

Yesterday rumors started swirling that Peter Chiarelli is listening to offers for Tim Thomas. Thomas, who is the Bruins starting goalie and reigning Vezina trophy-winner, has had his struggles this year.

Thomas has just a 13-15-7 record this year with a 2.52 goals-against average. His numbers pale in comparison to last year, where he had a 36-11-7 record and a 2.10 goals-against average.

The Ottawa Sun were the first ones to report on the trade rumors. Thomas certainly wasn't thinking he was going to be traded anytime soon. The Bruins had just signed Thomas to a four-year $20 million contract extension in early April.

I'm sure most fans are thinking that this is a crazy idea. Sure Thomas has had a rough year, but look at the team as a whole. Everyone has struggled for the most part and a goalie can't be great if his defense is struggling in front of him.

The truth is, though, that if the Bruins can make a move and trade Thomas, then they would be right in doing so. Here's why.

1. Tuukka Rask Is Ready to Take Over the No. 1 Spot

This season was the first time that Tim Thomas entered the year as the No. 1 goalie. His backup, Tuukka Rask, was expected to get starts here and there but Thomas would carry the bulk of the load.

After an early injury to Thomas, Rask played great and began to take starts away from Thomas, showing early signs of things to come. Rask has continued to play well and has performed better than expected, making trading Thomas much easier then what it would have been at the beginning of the year.

Some are probably thinking you can't let Rask become the starting goalie—that you would be throwing him to the wolves too early and he might turn into Andrew Raycroft or might begin to struggle like Carey Price is in Montreal. Rask has already shown he is more mature for his age and is ready to take over the starting job. As they say, the future is now and its time to let Tuukka take his spot as the starting goaltender.

2. The Bruins Would Have Money to Spend in the Offseason

Tim Thomas is taking a big cap hit to the Bruins right now. Thomas' annual cap hit is $5 million a year. After signing his contract extension people were concerned that they may have given him too much money, and it is beginning to show now that that contract was a mistake. Thomas doesn't play night in and night out and the Bruins can't afford to have that much money sitting on the bench.

If they are able to trade Thomas they would open up some badly needed cap space and would be able to pursue free agents more freely in the offseason. It will be tough to trade Thomas given how much his cap hit is, but teams that are on the verge of the playoffs and in need of a goalie might be tempted to take on Thomas.

3. A Trade Could Turn the Season Around

The Bruins need to do something to turn the season around. They have had their troubles all year long and are in danger of going from a team that finished first in the Eastern Conference last year to missing the playoffs entirely the very next year.

If the Bruins can trade Thomas for a goal scorer, then they might be able to right the ship and make the playoffs. So far, the defense has been solid and it has been the scoring that has struggled. One player might be the answer to the Bruins offensive woes.

So with that said, don't be all that shocked if Thomas does end up being traded. His trade value is probably as high as it's going to get right now, and while that isn't saying much, you don't want to wait too long and let his stock drop even further.

The Bruins still have a shot at making the playoffs and doing some damage once in, but they need to make a move to be able to do so. Trading Tim Thomas might just be that move. Feel free to voice your opinion down below.


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