Monday, February 8, 2010

Trading Tim Thomas

The Bruins finally won a game. I don't have to tell Bruins fans how painful and upsetting the last few weeks have been as the Bruins went on a ten game "not winning" streak. It turns out that they did pick up four points in OT losses (regulation ties) so it isn't exactly correct to claim it was a losing streak. But it sure felt like a losing streak so it might as well be called one.

I have been saying all along that what they needed was to score three goals. It's ironic that when they finally scored three their goaltender also got a shutout. Turns out all they needed was one goal. But nevertheless three bodes well for the future. If they score three in just about any of the recent games they likely win.

Oddly, despite all this the Bruins are still in the thick of the playoffs. The question now isn't if they can make the playoffs so much as if they can be expected to win a series if they did. They certainly have the talent to go far, of that I am certain. This idea you see in the press that the Bs played over their potential last year is idiotic. A team can be more than the sum of its parts but it can never be better than its potential. Last year was no fluke. We know how good this team can be.

Rumors are swirling about Tim Thomas being shopped around. Even if true I doubt it means more than the GM taking stock of market value. After all, Thomas has a no trade clause. It seems unlikely he'd suddenly decide he didn't like the weather in New England. But more importantly, the Bruins have a sweet deal in their goaltending, arguably the best in the league. The tandem of the veteran Thomas and the up and coming Rask is a GMs dream--particularly when you consider their cap hit taken together is only $6.5 million, which is good through the 2011/2012 season. For comparison, Khabibulin alone has the same figure, as does Luongo. Giguere has a hit of $6 million, Kiprusoff $5.8 million. And those teams have to pay for a backup as well, because no goalie can play every game. Which would you rather have? Luongo or the Thomas/Rask tandem? Rask is unproven (Raycroft anyone) but with great potential and despite the Thomas doubters Timmy has always overcome any adversity sent his way, which has been considerable. If one needs to come up for air, the other can always take over. This is as close as it gets to a sure thing in the playoffs. All they need is a team that can play in front of them.

The bottom line is that no GM in his right mind would trade either of them right now. That is, unless he is forced to--and that's the great worry. There are only a few reasonable places to look for enough cap room to bring in a difference maker up front, and Thomas is the prime one. It may be tempting to move him to clear the space, but that would be staking the future of the team on a kid goaltender, which would be a big gamble. As I said before, he'd be crazy to do it.

Unless he was forced to.

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