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Islanders won’t toll Thomas’ contract, will be a free agent Friday

Jul 2, 2013, 10:46 AM EDT

Tim Thomas AP

With the announcement yesterday that Tim Thomas would be looking for a place to play when free agency opens on Friday, some wondered whether or not the Islanders would let him go.

Since he stayed away for the full season, even after being dealt to Long Island, the team could’ve decided to toll his contract and keep him an Islander this season. Both Arthur Staple of Newsday and Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos confirm the team will do no such thing and let him go to market.

If this sounds like a familiar situation for the GM Garth Snow and the Isles, it is.

When they acquired Evgeni Nabokov off re-entry waivers two seasons ago, he too refused to report and the team tolled his contract locking him into playing there the following season. It turned out to be a mutually beneficial arrangement as Nabokov wound up signing another deal with the team and led them to the playoffs this season.

  1. yougotgirouxed - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    cool story bro

    • supercoop8 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

      Not as cool as the fact Holmgren has already met with him and the goalie market is getting smaller. Have fun with that.

      • yougotgirouxed - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:23 AM

        Supercoop is the coolest PHT commenter ever.

      • supercoop8 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:38 AM

        Shades are on and collar is popped

  2. bcisleman - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:53 AM

    Doesn’t sound like they are making an effort to re-sign him then. That doesn’t make much sense unless Garth is worried about the effect he might have on the Room.

    • source7769 - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      if they tolled him they would have to lose their 2nd round pick to boston and theres no gaurentee that after a yr out hes worth it

    • islesjb - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:21 AM

      I know the Isles are pretty much desperate for a goalie at this point but I’m fine with Garth letting Thomas go. He’s already 41 to begin and hasn’t played hockey at the NHL level in over a year.

      No idea who is going to end up in net this year but I think pitting our hopes on TT would have been too much of a gamble. We’d be better off seeing if Poulin or Nillson can step up and be competitive to see if there’s anything there going forward.

      That or ideally, Garth gets someone serviceable come July 5th.

      • islesjb - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:58 AM

        39* not 41, as pointed out below

  3. giantboy99 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Who cares

  4. jcmeyer10 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    Musta seen he isn’t in game shape. In fairness it’s hard to stay in NHL shape when you are in a fall out shelter.

  5. jpelle82 - Jul 2, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    holmgren just jizzed in his pants

    • yougotgirouxed - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:17 AM

      Penguins suck

  6. lonespeed - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:16 AM

    Sorry Tim, your ship has sailed. You’ll be lucky to get someone to take a shot on you. Like Tiki Barber, you don’t step out of pro sports for 2-3 years in the twilight of your career and jump back in as if you never left.

    You were good, but you weren’t so good that you couldn’t be replaced.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:48 AM

      Exactly the kind of silly mentality that motivates TT and makes him work harder. He “stepped out” for one season not three and he’s 39 not 41 (as commented above). Additionally, he doesn’t have as much tread on the tire as most people his age because he played fewer games per year in Europe and then as a backup for so long. Finally, the last time he took any time off was due to a hip injury in 2009-2010 and he bounced back pretty well the following year winning the Cup, Vezina and Conn Smythe trophies. He went out at the top of his game and I’d venture he hasn’t been eating donuts and sitting on the couch in a bunker as some would want to believe. He specifically chose to live in Colorado to be close to the Olympic Training Center to work out. I would not bet against this guy.

      • islesjb - Jul 2, 2013 at 11:57 AM

        My mistake regarding his age. 39 is still no spring chicken though. He’s definitely a gamble though and the Isles need more of a long term answer anyway.

      • dropthepuckeh - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:01 PM

        Definitely a gamble but aren’t all goalies? At least he has shown he can play at the elite level and he clearly loves the competition and proving people wrong….

      • islesjb - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:52 PM

        Yeah but if the Isles take a gamble on a younger goalie the payoff would be potentially much greater because they could keep him beyond just a season or two (if it works out).

        God I wish the Isles got Bernier after what he went for and after losing Nino for Clutterbuck and a pick

  7. pastabelly - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Had they tolled the contract, they would have to pay him $5 million for 2013-2014. That is an above market deal for a 39-year old goalie who hasn’t played a meaningful game in what would be 18 months. Maybe Thomas gets a year at $3.5M from the Flyers. We’ll see.

  8. titansbro - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    Word in Boston with reputable hockey reporters is that he got kinda fat in his year away.

    • dropthepuckeh - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      Guessing that word came from the fat Boston hockey reporter who has gone out of his way to bash TT for his politics. Just saying….

  9. LampyB - Jul 2, 2013 at 12:15 PM

    He’ll get back into shape. Thomas is a world class goaltender. He’ll be better than Mike Smith after a year off, not a huge gamble as long as he gets back into shape quickly. Has everyone forgotten how good he was before the hiatus?? UNSTOPPABLE

  10. montrealbbr - Jul 2, 2013 at 2:44 PM

    If the Bruins were smart they’d let Rask walk and sign Thomas.

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