Tim Thomas “willing” to stay with Panthers
While there have been few bright spots for the Florida Panthers this season, one of them has certainly been goaltender Tim Thomas. After taking a leave of absence from the Boston Bruins, Thomas’ retirement only lasted one season and he came back into the NHL with a Florida team in need of a starting goaltender.
Thomas has proven to be serviceable for the Panthers, with a 2.79 goals-against average and .911 save percentage to go along with a record of 14-16-3. While the team waits to see if Jacob Markstrom can be its goaltender of the future, Thomas is holding down the fort.
Now, according to Craig Davis of the Florida Sun-Sentinel, Thomas may be willing to stay with the Panthers after his one-year, $2.5 million deal expires.
“I’m certainly willing to entertain the idea. I haven’t talked to the club about that,” Thomas said Monday as the Panthers returned to work following three one-sided losses on the road.
“I was hoping by this time to be seeing more team success. That’s been a little bit difficult. Having said that, it’s a process. I knew coming into it where the team was last year. I bought into this process, and what we’re trying to do is turn it around.”
The Panthers are certainly a team built around young talent. At forward, Jonathan Huberdeau, Aleksander Barkov, Nick Bjugstad, and Drew Shore have all shown promise moving into the future. Dmitry Kulikov has seen his name floated in trade rumors, but Florida still has good prospect depth behind him at defense with Erik Gudbranson in the NHL and Alex Petrovic and Colby Robak in the minors.
At this point, Florida’s best course may be to accept that the current team isn’t going anywhere as far as the postseason is concerned. Thomas has a no-movement clause in his contract, so even if the Panthers find a deal, Thomas has to sign off on it.
For the Panthers, next season arguably brings even more promise than this one had at the start. For that reason, it may be best to not offer Thomas an extension and hand the reins to Markstrom, for better or worse.
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[H/T Pro Hockey Talk]