The Florida Panthers have invited Tim Thomas to their 2013-2014 training camp.
Thomas told the Bruins last summer that he did not intend to play this season in a bid to make the USA national Olympic team in 2014. Very strange approach, but even getting traded to the Islanders, which meant he would have probably got some ice time, was not enough to bring him out of hiding.
Thomas, who carried a $5 million salary cap hit this past year, would have been paid a pro-rated $3 million if he had played. Thomas was the best goalie in the league twice in his short career (2009/2011) and led the Bruins to a Stanley Cup win during the latter year. Without him, the Bruins went on to the Stanley Cup finals, losing out to the Chicago Blackhawks while riding Tuukka Rask in net. Florida’s projected starter in goal is Jacob Markstrom, the 23-year-old Swede who went 8-14-1 with a 3.22 goals-against average last season. The expected long number one starter, Markstrom can learn a thing or two thanks to the expertise of Thomas, something will only help in the long run.
As well, the Panthers have signed Tom Gilbert to a PTO. He was bought out by the Minnesota Wild in July after producing 13 points and a minus-11 rating in 43 games last season. Gilbert was set to earn $3 million in 2013-14 and his cap hit was $4 million.
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