Here is the bottom line on the Tim Thomas trade: The Bruins gained $5 million of salary cap space to play with and the Islanders gained $5 million in paper salary to keep it about the salary floor.
As for Thomas, the veteran goaltender will remain on sabbatical this season while pondering his options for 2014 and beyond.
The Bruins, a serious Stanley Cup contender, could add significant help if necessary this season.
“It doesn't mean we'll go out and get somebody now because we have cap space,” Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said during a conference call with Boston reporters. “But if there are good deals that come early, you have to be in the ballgame. We're in the ballgame now. That was the proactive approach that we wanted to take here.”
The Islanders were not in compliance with the NHL salary cap system until today. Their payroll was too small. They got over the floor by activating defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, who finally showed up from his lockout stint in Europe.
The addition of the Thomas contract will allow them to move salary in a deal. The Islanders never expect to see Thomas himself show up on Long Island.