One of the most colorful and outspoken goaltenders in recent memory (and slightly odd) is about to make his decision on where he’ll resume his NHL career next year. Yes, Tim Thomas will once again be taking to the ice in and around the NHL this year but where the former Vezina and Conn Smythe Trophy winner will call home is not yet known.
Craig Custance of ESPN.com reports that Thomas is close to deciding which team he’ll sign with, stating that a decision could come later today. Are the Oilers interested in Thomas services? It’s highly unlikely and given the fact that the Oilers haven’t been mentioned as a potential destination, Edmonton is all but out of the equation.
The Florida Panthers are rumored to be one team that is heavily interested in Thomas’ services and the Calgary Flames have also been mentioned with the recent retirement of Miikka Kiprusoff.
At this point Thomas can’t be overly picky on where he plays. It’s understandable that he’d prefer to play for a contender and it’s rumored that he wants to be a starter. The problem is, not many contenders need an improvement in goal and Thomas certainly doesn’t qualify as an upgrade. Calgary would be a logical fit as a starter given their lack of depth in goal.
But should the Oilers have interest in the veteran netminder? Chatter on Twitter today has some Oilers fans believing that Thomas would be a solid fit for Edmonton, to help mentor Devan Dubnyk as he continues to grow and develop into that number one backstop the Oilers are hoping he can become.
Signing Thomas would be a confusing one to say the least. With Jason LaBarbera already in the mix and set to be the proverbial backup to Dubnyk this season, bringing Thomas into the fray would only muddy the waters. In other words, it would make little to no sense as to why the Oilers would sign Thomas.
The only rationale would be to potentially deal LaBarbera or Thomas later in the season. But what would his trade value be worth? Even if he produced respectable numbers for the first three months of the season, he’s 39-years old and took an entire season off. He may fetch a 5th or 6th round draft pick from a team desperate enough to acquire him for the playoff push.
Back to the Oilers. Tim Thomas in Edmonton doesn’t make sense. Not when Dubnyk has all but been granted the number one job and will have to fall flat on his face to lose that role. Even then, LaBarbera is capable of coming in on relief to stop the bleeding, should it get that bad.
In Thomas you would also be getting a side show circus who publicly declined an invitation to the White House after the Boston Bruins won the Stanley Cup. Political beliefs aside, Thomas took the opportunity to make a mountain out of a mole hill and the Oilers simply don’t need a player that will bring an undesired distraction. Let’s not forget Ilya Bryzgalov is still available if the Oilers wanted to sign a goalie with a travelling road show.
There are Oilers fans that feel the crease in Edmonton is far from solidified and that many question marks remain. Thomas has the resume that would help pug that hole but even he has many questions surrounding his ability to rebound after a full year’s hiatus.
It’s becoming evident that Oilers management are prepared to ride the combination of Dubnyk and LaBarbera until deemed a failure (one that is highly unlikely). Let’s hope that Craig MacTavish politely declined to discuss any openings if the agent for Thomas phoned over to Edmonton.