Tim Thomas' career in Boston may be over soon
The idea of a one-year sabbatical seems bizarre to Thomas, particularly considering the fact that he's 38 years old.
If Thomas takes a year off at this point, that may be viewed as a de facto retirement, and make him a lot less desirable if he returns in 2013.
Then again, great goalies are at a premium, and Thomas has been one of the best in the NHL over the past few years, so it wouldn't be surprising to see another team take a chance.
However, the most realistic scenario seems to be a trade that would ship Thomas out of Boston. His White House snub didn't sit well with a lot of fans in the rather left-leaning Massachusetts area, and the Bruins already have an outstanding young replacement in Tuukka Rask. They can afford to move Thomas, particularly for a decent goal-scorer.
Look for the Bruins to take advantage of Thomas' remaining value and let Rask take over as the #1 goalie. Even if Thomas somehow stays in Boston, there's a chance Rask moves ahead of him on the depth chart anyway.
They've also signed Swedish goalie prospect Niklas Svedberg to a 2-year deal, so if Thomas departs, Svedberg could prove to be a suitable backup after a short time in Providence.
If it's the end of the Tim Thomas era in Boston, then it's been a good run, but the Bruins are probably ready to move on, and most of the fans feel the same way.