Florida has a new goalie! Many expected the Jacob Markstrom era to begin in Florida this season, but that will be put on hold for one year, as long-time Boston Bruin, and guy who took last year off, Tim Thomas, has signed a 1-year, $2.5 million deal, with a $3.75 million cap hit with the franchise.
After making the playoffs in the 2011-12 season, being knocked out by the New Jersey Devils in the first round in seven games, the Panthers ended up with the worst record in the National Hockey League last season, on the back of Markstrom, Scott Clemmensen and Jose Theodore.
What does Tim Thomas bring to Florida? He joins Kris Versteeg (one) Brian Campbell (one) and Tomas Kopecky (two), as holders of Stanley Cup rings. However, Thomas is the only one with a Conn Smythe as playoff MVP. A two-time Vezina winner, one-time William M. Jennings trophy, and the first player since Bernie Parent to win the Stanley Cup, Vezina and Conn Smythe in the same season.
The resume is plentiful, but Thomas is 39 years old. He didn’t play anywhere last season, so whether or not he’ll even make it out the year is a gamble for the Panthers, especially considering they seem to be outside playoff contenders at best. Perhaps he’s bought in to provide tutelage for Markstrom, but the latter will more than likely end up in the AHL when Clemmensen returns from injury.
For those wondering, Florida play Thomas’ former team, the Boston Bruins (I don’t count the Islanders, even though he was on their roster, he never played a game for them, not even as backup) five times next season. Mark these dates on your hockey calendar!
October 17, 2013, November 7, 2013, January 28, 2014, March 4, 2014 and March 9, 2014
The media will be all over it, especially for the first game I feel. Even Bruins starter, and Thomas’ backup in Boston, Tuukka Rask, joked that it’s going to be a “media debacle”. Fun times to be had in Florida for the year ahead.