You don't have to be from Boston to know who Tim Thomas is.
After finishing the 2008-2009 regular season with an impressive 36-11-7 record, .933 save percentage, and a 2.10 goals-against average (GAA), Thomas led the top-seeded Bruins into the playoffs with confidence.
Although Boston was surprisingly knocked out of the postseason by Carolina in the conference semifinals, Thomas' efforts were still enough to earn him the Vezina trophy as the NHL's top goaltender.
But this past season, the 36-year-old Thomas took a plunge for the ages. Despite a still-decent .915 save percentage, Thomas was just 17-18-8 with 104 total goals allowed by midseason, just 10 fewer than he gave up in all of the previous year.
By then, Thomas was seeing fewer and fewer starts, and by spring, the veteran was using up $5 million in cap space on the bench.
However, shockingly, Boston wasn't doomed. Young 23-year-old Finnish goaltender Tuukka Rask stepped into Thomas' place and nearly duplicated Thomas' efforts in 2008-2009. Posting a league-leading .931 save percentage and 1.97 GAA, Rask stepped up his game and led Boston to the sixth seed despite Thomas' crash.
Not surprisingly, the Bruins are now looking to cut their ties with the veteran. Even before the NHL free-agent market opened on July 1st, talks of a trade for Thomas were ongoing with reported teams such as Tampa Bay, San Jose, and Philadelphia.
While Tampa Bay recently dropped out of talks with the signing of Dan Ellis, there are plenty of teams that could be interested in acquiring Thomas in hopes of finding a short-term missing-piece player, a goaltender mentor, or a veteran leader. Whereas an abundance of franchises could definitely use his services, here are five teams (listed in no particular order) where Thomas might fit best.