Tim Thomas is off to one of the best historical starts in NHL history.
He is 9-1-0 with a .960 save percentage, good for first in the league, a GAA of 1.31, which is good for second and, even more impressively, has 4 shutouts in 11 games started. His only loss had his team shut out against the Ottawa Senators, a team the Bruins typically do very well against.
Despite the many wonderful things to be said about Thomas this year, his start may be more important for the future than the present. With the acquisition of Horton, the drafting of Seguin and the long-term lockups of many of their major stars, the Bruins are looking to be setup for many playoff runs over the next decade or so, assuming the team stays together.
One piece that may need to move over however, is Thomas. His contract alone would come close to solving the problem they are having staying under the cap.
Presently, he makes $5 million a year over the next three years. This year, despite fluctuations in the actual amount, the Bruins are approximately $7 million dollars over the cap.
With a combination of a Ryder contract at $2.5 million, the Bruins could be under the cap and bursting with talent at every level. Ryder had a mere 33 points last season and a -3 for a plus/minus thus far on the 2010-2011 season.
In his career, Ryder has only scored 30 goals twice. For a team with young talent and a cap situation, he may find himself real-estate shopping very soon.
The reason, of course, for all the news concerning this situation has been Rask’s play last season. In his first full season, he was 22-12-5 with a league-leading 1.97 GAA and also league-leading .931 save percentage.
He also single-handedly pulled his team into the playoffs before getting beaten in a seven-game series, where an injury-riddled Bruins team simply could not put away the Flyers for a chance to play in the conference finals against Montreal.
His record this year is 0-4-1. His GAA is not stellar at 2.75, but it has been his goal support which is simply awful.
They have scored nine total goals. Three of them came in a loss to the first-place Capitals, where he played a relief role for a porous Thomas, who was pulled after two periods of subpar play.
Rask has yet to play in back-to-back games this year and has typically played in the second part of short consecutive matchups. He realistically has lacked the chance to shine with his solid style of goaltending.
Thomas, the Vezina Trophy winner in the 2008-09 season, has proven that, despite his injury, there is still a lot of gas in the tank. This has made his stock rise exponentially.
In the eyes of the front office, this could mean his status has gone from untradable, overpaid backup to valuable commodity. Hopefully, this will lead to facilitating the acquisition of draft picks and possibly a young defenseman capable of taking some minutes off Chara’s plate.
The snag, of course, in all of this is Thomas’ one-way, no-trade clause, which gives him final say on any roster move.