Found April 28, 2012 on Red Light District Hockey:

Immediately after Boston’s first-round exit, speculation grew that the Bruins should trade or will trade veteran goaltender Tim Thomas this off-season. But should they do so? Tab and I debate…

Yes, the timing is perfect for a tradeBy Ryan Porth
This is a similar situation to the one in Vancouver right now. The Canucks brass is trying to decide whether to keep Roberto Luongo or pass the keys to promising youngster Cory Schneider. In Boston, GM Peter Chiarelli could trade Tim Thomas and make 25-year-old Tuukka Rask the starter.
Thomas has one year left on this contract, worth $5 million. Like Schneider, Rask is a restricted free agent this summer. Since Thomas’ contract situation is a lot different from Luongo’s, it’ll be easier for Thomas to be traded – and that’s the route the Bruins should take.
Thomas is 38 years old and, presumably, doesn’t have much left in the tank. However, with his success over the last few years he still has some trade value. He had the banner year in 2011, winning the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe and Vezina Trophy, and he followed that up with a 35-win campaign where he recorded a 2.36 goals-against average.
There is enough there for an opposing GM to want to acquire Thomas. With that in mind, the timing is right for the Bruins to turn the page and part ways with the veteran netminder.
Rask is ready to be a starter in the NHL. The former first-round pick of Toronto has good career numbers as a backup (or 1B goalie). In 102 career games, Rask boasts a 2.20 GAA and .926 save percentage; and in 2009-10, he led the NHL in GAA (1.97). This summer he’s due for a raise from his current $1.25 million salary.
There’s no telling where Thomas could end up, if he is traded. As mentioned, his contract situation is favorable for a trade. His cap hit is $5 million, but the actual salary is $3 million. Also, his no-movement clause expires on July 1st.
Would Toronto want to get Thomas as a short-term solution to their goaltending woes? What about Chicago or Tampa Bay? If San Jose is no longer confident in Antti Niemi, would they be an option for Thomas?
Despite his age, Thomas will be an attractive option for teams looking for a one- or two-year fix in net. Contrarily, the Bruins can use the cap space to make upgrades elsewhere on the roster.
For Boston, it’s time to move on and make Rask the starter.---
No, Boston should hold on to ThomasBy Tab Bamford
A very good case can, and has, been made for the Bruins to trade Tim Thomas this summer. But that wouldn’t be the best course of action for a Boston team that wants to get back to the Cup final. There are a number of issues that emerge if the Bruins decide to move Thomas this summer, and there isn’t an easy remedy for any of them.
First, the best time for the Bruins to move Thomas would, in theory, be at (or before) the NHL Draft in late June. But that limits the time the organization has to deal with restricted free agent Tuukka Rask; if the Bruins move Thomas before signing Rask, their leverage is gone.
Speaking of Rask, moving Thomas before the season starts places an overwhelming amount of faith in the youngster. Boston would have to look for a veteran backup through free agency if Thomas was moved before the season, or turn over that spot to 22-year-old Michael Hutchinson, who had an impressive .927 save percentage with Providence (AHL) this year.
But how many teams enter a season with both Stanley Cup aspirations and a backup goalie with zero NHL ice time on his resume?
Back to Thomas.
Another concern is the value the Bruins would be able to get back in a deal when this summer’s crop of goalies is fairly deep. A free agent group that could include Josh Harding, Johan Hedberg, Tomas Vokoun, Al Montoya and Jonas Gustavsson figures to present the teams looking for a goalie enough opportunities.
Add to those players Roberto Luongo and a number of restricted free agent netminders that might also become available, and there wouldn’t be enough desperate general managers to pay a premium for Thomas.
The best course of action for Boston is to keep Thomas through the summer. Let him rotate in net with Rask through the first half of the season, and trade him to a desperate team at the deadline. Boston would undoubtedly get more value for Thomas in that scenario, and wouldn’t be putting their entire 2012-13 season on the shoulders of a player that finished this season injured.
Photo credit: Getty Images


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