Tim Thomas explores options to make NHL return

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Dust off you below-the-belt bunker jokes, because TSN road buddies Bob McKenzie and Pierre LeBrun report that Tim Thomas is expected to announce his intention to return to the NHL in the near future.

The 39-year-old goalie is known for throwing curveballs toward the general hockey world, especially when it comes to announcements, so be sure to apply the usual “don’t assume it’s 100 percent until it’s official” caveats.

Update: LeBrun points to this Tweet by Thomas’ agent Bill Zito.

Another update: Zito apparently took that Tweet down, but LeBrun said he discussed the situation with Zito on Monday. So it sounds like it could still be legitimate, although you never really know with Thomas.

Regardless, it makes for a fascinatingly redemptive free agent goalie class, as Thomas headlines a list heavy with risk-reward choices alongside Ilya Bryzgalov.

The most obvious question is whether Thomas can approach his outstanding work a) a full year out of the league at an advanced age and b) without Zdeno Chara patrolling his blueline. Sitting out a season would be tougher for any netminder, but what about for a goalie with such an unorthodox style?

Still, there could be plenty of teams who feel just fine with rolling the dice regarding a guy with two Vezina Trophies, a Conn Smythe, Stanley Cup, and .921 save percentage on his resume.