Not really a surprise other than the timing coming prior to the official announcement of the club's sale Friday but Florida has secured a dual-Vezina, Conn Smythe & Stanley Cup winner in UFA goaltender Tim Thomas for the 2013-14 season. We all love Jacob Markstrom beyond words but this is enormous, not only for the organization but perhaps the young Swede's development as well.
Thomas played a period-plus against Tampa Bay in Estero on Thursday evening, and while we wait for NHL.com to provide stats of any sort (only game of the night without a boxscore as of 12:10 a.m.), various folks have stated via Twitter that Tim finished the evening at the halfway point of the game, allowing 1 goal on 10 shots.
The deal, believed to be $3.75M per CapGeek, may be a monumental steal for the Cats if Thomas, 39, is able to recapture even a sliver of his former glory before taking a year away from the game in 2012-13. The Michigan native has a career 2.48/9.21 NHL record with 378 games, 196 wins, 121 losses, and 50 overtime defeats. His final year (2011-12) offered up a regular season statline of 35-19-1 (2.36/9.20) and 5 shutouts in 55 games with a rather decent roster in Boston. This was far less than two years ago.
Love him or hate him, Thomas may be Florida's finest acquisition after the Pavel Bure deal in 1998, but much is left to be seen given his age and recent vacation from the sport. On that note, how will goalie-of-the-future-present-yesterday-tomorrow Markstrom accept yet another "demotion", of sorts?
Whatever the case, Thomas is reportedly slotted in as the starter for Florida's preseason home finale on Saturday, and evidently the season opener on October 3rd in Dallas.