Tim Thomas is a New York Islander. When he plays is anybody’s guess.
The Islanders acquired Thomas from the Boston Bruins late Thursday afternoon in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick in 2014 or 2015. He has a career 196-121-45 record with a 2.48 goals against average and .921 save percentage in 378 regular season games.
“We traded for an asset and it gives us some flexibility moving forward,” Islanders general manager Garth Snow said prior to last night’s game against the Rangers at the Garden. “Tim is obviously a world-class goaltender with a great resume.”
Snow added that the trade was something that he and Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli “talked about at length.”
He also won the Vezina Trophy as the league’s top goalie in 2008-09.
However, the goaltender is currently on the suspended list after informing Chiarelli last summer that he wished to spend the 2012-13 season with his family. Thomas received criticism last year when he did not join his teammates at the White House ceremony to honor the Bruins’ Stanley Cup championship. Thomas pointed to his political beliefs as the reason why he would attend the ceremony.
“He was a character here. He was a terrific goalie. He had a great story and he had some interesting side stories that became distractions at times. But I can’t stray from the fact that this guy won two Vezina Trophies a Conn Smythe and was terrific when we won the Cup,” Chiarelli told Boston reporters in a conference call last night. “You guys will write what you want to write, and it will be accurate. But I was thinking this morning about the run we had with Tim and he was outstanding.”
Thomas and Snow spoke after the trade was completed according to the Islanders GM. Snow would not divulge the nature of the talks with Thomas. When asked directly by Metro if he expected Thomas to play this season, Snow said he was “not going to comment on any conversation.”
Thomas is slated to earn $5 million this season. His salary pushes the Islanders’ payroll to $53.042 million. By shedding themselves of Thomas’ salary, Boston is now $7 million under the cap ceiling. That money could be used to sign goaltender Tuukka Rask to a long-term extension or allow Chiarelli to be active on the trade market.
“I’m more worried about the New York Islanders,” Snow said. “For us, [the trade] makes sense.”
Follow Rangers beat writer Denis Gorman on Twitter @DenisGorman.