NHL Rumors: Reported Interest in Tim Thomas Will Lead to Offseason Signing

Donald Wood@@Donald_WoodFeatured ColumnistJuly 26, 2013

February 5, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; Boston Bruins goalie Tim Thomas (30) stands on the ice against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

After missing the 2013 season, veteran goaltender Tim Thomas is trying to make a comeback in the NHL, and according to Bruins' insider Jimmy Murphy, there are several teams interested in his services:

Thomas and his agent made his availability known shortly after free agency kicked off, via ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, but there hasn’t been a rush of teams to sign the Stanley Cup winning goalie as he likely expected.

Many of the teams desperate for goalie help—namely the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Islanders—have went in different directions this offseason and are no longer in the market for Thomas.

Thomas could wait it out and sign with a contender that is looking to bolster the netminder position midseason, but he would be wise to sign with a team not expected to win immediately where he could showcase his skills.

If Thomas signs a one-year deal and excels on a losing team, a franchise on the cusp of Stanley Cup contention next offseason could decide that the risk of signing the veteran would help them get over the hump.

The perfect landing spot for Thomas this season would be the Florida Panthers.

Miami is a hockey market away from the mainstream scrutiny that the returning Thomas would face in any of the larger cities he has played in over his career. With less pressure to win right away, Thomas would be allowed to find his rhythm once again and round back into shape.

The Panthers have serious talent on the team, and while adding Thomas may not turn the team into Stanley Cup contenders, the offensive production of the talented forwards and the strong defensive core will give the veteran goalie a chance to help Florida make the playoffs.

While Florida has future franchise goalie Jacob Markstrom and veteran Scott Clemmensen already locked up, giving Thomas a one-year deal and giving Markstrom one more season to develop would be smart for this season and beyond.

Thomas is undoubtedly drawing interest from several teams, and waiting to find the perfect fit on-and-off the ice is the smart move for the veteran.