Sep 16, 2013, 11:22 AM EDT
If the Florida Panthers do as they’re expected and sign goalie Tim Thomas to a professional tryout, they’ll be adding a two-time Vezina Trophy recipient with a .921 career NHL save percentage who’s only a couple of years removed from leading the Boston Bruins to a Stanley Cup championship and winning the Conn Smythe Trophy.
The question, of course, is if he’s still that same goalie at 39 years old and after taking a year off. Which is why the Panthers were loathe to give him a guaranteed contract.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say he’s still a pretty good goalie. (If he’s not, he just won’t play.) If he’s still a pretty good goalie, Panthers fans should be extremely excited at this news — particularly after the goaltending they saw from their team last season.
In 2013, Florida ranked dead last in the NHL in save percentage, with Jacob Markstrom, Jose Theodore, and Scott Clemmensen combining for an .887 mark in that category. In contrast, the Ottawa Senators finished with a league-high .933 save percentage.
Goaltending matters. A lot. Proof: of the 10 teams with the highest save percentages in 2013, only Columbus and Edmonton missed the playoffs. And of the 10 teams with the lowest save percentages, only the Islanders made the playoffs.
Still not convinced? When the Panthers made the playoffs in 2011-12 (after missing them for 10 straight seasons), their team save percentage was .914, tied for ninth in the NHL.
Again, this isn’t to say Thomas is still the goalie he used to be. We’ll just have to wait and see about that. For the Panthers, though, it’s definitely worth a gamble to find out.
- Report: Avs, O’Reilly likely headed to arbitration 45
- Armstrong lays out what Blues offered KHL-bound Sobotka 15
- Blues re-sign Ott; Sobotka to KHL? 31
- Devils ink Schneider to reported seven-year, $42 million deal 60
- Big money: Toews, Kane sign eight-year, $84 million extensions 170
- Jets can’t let Kane situation fester much longer 57
- Report: Sidney Crosby will undergo wrist surgery 59
- Kane: ‘I’m a Winnipeg Jet right now… we’ll see what happens’ 51
- McDavid, Eichel top Central Scouting Futures list 14
- Columnist: Mike Green is ‘destined to be traded’ by Caps 40
- Big money: Toews, Kane sign eight-year, $84 million extensions (170)
- Pros and cons of Subban filing for arbitration (67)
- Boyle wanted Big Apple after playing in ‘nontraditional hockey markets’ of Florida, California (63)
- Devils ink Schneider to reported seven-year, $42 million deal (62)
- Report: Sidney Crosby will undergo wrist surgery (59)