The New York Islanders have acquired Tim Thomas from the Boston Bruins in exchange for a conditional second-round draft pick in either 2014 or 2015.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie notes the Bruins will only receive the pick if Thomas reports to the Isles, or if they trade his rights.
Thomas, 38, has not played this year after taking a sabbatical from hockey to “reconnect with friends, family and faith” in early June.
The former Conn Smythe and Vezina winner said he planned on returning for the 2013-14 season, but that he only wanted to play for Boston.
Prior to the trade, Boston had been stuck with Thomas’ cap hit, though it did receive some financial relief by suspending him, meaning the Bruins didn’t have to pay his salary.
Thomas will also play a role in New York’s financials as well.
“We have acquired an asset for our organization,” Isles GM Garth Snow said of the trade. “This acquisition allows us flexibility with our roster moving forward.”
New York, currently operating with the NHL’s smallest payroll (just over $49 million), already has two goalies under contract — Rick DiPietro ($4.5 million cap hit until 2021) and Evgeni Nabokov, who carries at $2.75 million cap hit this season.
Thomas has one year remaining on the four-year, $20 million deal (average annual cap hit of $5 million) he signed in 2009.
Here’s more, from Newsday’s Arthur Staple:
Move is cap-related — #Isles needed to be over the floor by tomorrow, needed insurance against not being cap compliant the entire season.
— Arthur Staple (@StapeNewsday) February 7, 2013
With the NHL’s salary cap floor at $44 million, bringing Thomas’ salary on board could allow the Islanders to move other players (via trade, perhaps) and still clear the floor.
Earlier today, defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky was added to the active roster, but has repeatedly tried to block his move to the Islanders.
Over the weekend, Bruce Garrioch of the Ottawa Sun passed along a rumor that the Isles would be willing to part with defenseman Mark Streit — should they fall out of playoff contention.
Visnovsky and Streit are both impending UFAs with a combined cap hit of $9.7 million.
— McKenzie also notes the Isles can “toll” Thomas’ contract to next year (something the Bruins had the option of doing), or they can let it expire at the end of the year.
— Staple reports the Islanders are unlikely to toll the contract, as they want financial flexibility going into the offseason.