Last month, before the NHL Entry Draft, erstwhile Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas waived his no-trade clause, giving Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli greater flexibility in any attempts to trade the two-time Vezina Trophy winner.
On Thursday, Thomas might have made his former (and still current, kind of) boss's job a bit harder.
Taking to his Facebook page - site of several controversial statements from Thomas since he skipped the team's White House reception in January - Thomas declared, "I stand with Chick-Fil-A," and gave a short summary of the controversy surrounding Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy's statements on gay marriage. The statement came less than a week after Boston mayor Thomas M. Menino wrote a letter to Cathy urging him to back out of his plans to establish a Chick-Fil-A location in Boston.
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Thomas is planning on taking the 2012-13 season off to focus on "Faith, Family and Friends," but because he signed his contract with the Bruins after the age of 35, he's still on the books to receive $3 million with a salary cap hit of $5 million, even if he retires or is suspended by the team. This has led to speculation that Thomas could be traded, possibly to a team with a low payroll that could use Thomas' contract as a means of getting above the salary cap floor, announced as $54.2 million for next season (pending a new collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and the NHL Players Association).
That could certainly still happen, although such negotiations would probably have to wait until a new CBA is finalized so that teams can be properly educated about the cap floor and whether the contract of a player suspended by the team can be counted. However, as Thomas makes himself into a more controversial figure, he creates a public relations risk for the team that tries to acquire him, let alone a team that would look to sign him next summer, when he plans to return to the NHL.
If Thomas were planning to play in 2012-13, Chiarelli could conceivably find a taker for his services. Attention has been focused on Vancouver Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo - who has lost his starting spot to Cory Schneider - but the pickings are extremely slim for the teams that don't get him. A two-time Vezina winner with a Conn Smythe Trophy on his résumé, even at 38, would draw interest. On the other hand, given the way Thomas' controversial comments made life difficult for his Bruins teammates (who endured constant questions in the latter half of the 2011-12 season), there's a good chance that Thomas is well on his way to being seen as not worth the trouble, if he's not already there.
Assuming that Thomas keeps to his word, though, that's an issue for next summer. In the meantime, it'll be interesting to see if Thomas' mouth ensures that he stays the Bruins' problem.