It seems that nothing involving Tim Thomas is ever simple. His path to the NHL was very unorthodox. His style of play in net is very unorthodox. His sudden exit from the NHL was very unorthodox. And, now, it seems like he may make a slightly unorthodox return to hockey next season.
According to CBC’s Elliotte Friedman, Thomas is mulling over the idea of returning to hockey in 2013-2014, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be back in an NHL uniform. Thomas’ rights are currently owned by the New York Islanders, who acquired the 39-year old goaltender from the Bruins back in February, but it is believed he may look to play somewhere in Europe if and when he returns to hockey.
Thomas’ current contract expires at the end of the 2012-13 season, but the Islanders have the option to “toll” his contract and extend him for one more year due to the fact Thomas never reported to the team. Speculation is that the Islanders won’t toll Thomas’ contract even if he does return to the NHL, which makes a lot of sense considering they’d have to commit $3 million to a guy who may or may not be able to shake off the rust of more than 12 months away from the game AND send the Bruins the conditional second round draft pick they agreed to trade if Thomas played a game for them.
A move to Europe is actually an idea that could make quite a bit of sense for Thomas when you think about it. The man has given himself a less than endearing off-the-ice reputation in the NHL and saw a lot of success in Finland prior to his NHL career; bolting to Europe could save him the trouble of enhanced media attention and scrutiny, and everybody in Boston knows how sensitive Thomas is with media scrutiny.
Or maybe this is all a bunch of nonsense and Thomas is still holed up in a bunker somewhere hating the government, perfectly content being away from hockey.