Tim Thomas may be taking a sabbatical from hockey for the 2012-13 NHL season, but when he returns, it won't be with the Boston Bruins. The embattled goaltender was traded on Thursday to the New York Islanders in a deal that ends his lengthy run with the Bruins franchise, according to Eklund of HockeyBuzz.com:
TSN's Darren Dreger is reporting that the Islanders have confirmed the deal:
Islanders GM Garth Snow confirmed that the team gave up a conditional second-round pick for Thomas, via Newsday's Arthur Staple:
With Thomas sitting out the 2012-13 season, there will be many who speculate whether this could lead to a return. While that's still a question that remains to be answered, the Islanders' motivation for acquiring Thomas was wholly cap-related, according to Arthur Staple of Newsday:
Thomas, a longtime journeyman who was given his first NHL shot by the Bruins, has been a regular fixture with the club since 2005-06. Initially used out of necessity, Thomas quickly ascended to one of the NHL's top goaltenders and has had a losing record just twice in eight NHL seasons.
He was also the most integral part of the Bruins Stanley Cup victory in 2010-11, and was the winner of the Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies in that season. However, his effectiveness waned in 2011-12 and his age (38) led many to wonder whether the Bruins should move on from their hero of yesteryear.
Thomas eventually made that decision for his club, deciding to sit out the 2012-13 season to spend more time with his family. Upon hearing that news, the Bruins promptly suspended him in January. That move essentially put his time in Boston on a very short leash, and the Islanders' need to reach the cap floor made them the perfect muse.
As for whether this trade will have any on-ice impact? Well, that's a question that will likely be answered in 2013-14.