Chiarelli says Thomas was ‘at peace’ with the trade

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Being traded to the Islanders didn’t take Tim Thomas by surprise yesterday, according to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli.

“I spoke with Tim to make him aware of this trade and he understood. He knew that this was the type of thing that I had talked to him about earlier on in the summer and in the fall, that this could happen,” said Chiarelli, per CSNNE.com. “He was comfortable with it and he sounded quite at peace with himself. [It was a] brief conversation, but I just wanted to talk a little bit about Tim because he was an important member of this team.”

Whether Thomas, 38, ever plays another NHL game, we’ll have to wait and see. Apparently his agent told Chiarelli “he’s still contemplating the idea of playing next season.”

The question Bruins fans are asking now is, what will Chiarelli do with the $5 million in cap space that was freed up by the trade? Boston is among the Stanley Cup favorites as the team currently stands. How much better would its chances be with, say, Jarome Iginla?

Said Chiarelli: “We don’t know how many players (will be on the market as the deadline approaches) and when these players will be available. It will give us flexibility immediately and it gave us the ability to hedge on the bonus cushion, which, if they exceed a certain amount, eats into next year’s cap. Next year’s cap is important to us.”

Related: Thomas’ plans remain ‘status quo’