The Bruins have traded two-time Vezina Trophy winner Tim Thomas to the New York Islanders, the team confirmed Thursday.
According to the team, the Bruins will receive a conditional second-round draft pick in 2014 or 2015. GM Peter Chiarelli declined to provide specifics of the condition. Chiarelli acknowledged that the condition centers on whether Thomas resumes his career either this season or next. If Thomas never plays again, the Bruins will not receive the pick.
Thomas told the Bruins last summer that he did not intend to play this season, and it’s not known now if he has changed his mind or if the Islanders have acquired him in hopes of his coming out of semi-retirement.
UPDATE: Even after the trade, Thomas does not intend to play this season, according to a source familiar with the situation. The source also confirmed that Thomas’s thoughts about resuming his career in 2013-14 have not changed.
Thomas, 38, told Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli last summer, upon making his decision, that he hoped to return to hockey after this season, with an eye on possibly playing again for Team USA in the 2014 Olympics in Sochi, Russia.
Thomas, who carries a $5 million salary cap hit, would have been paid a pro-rated $3 million if he had played this season. However, his pro-rated $5 million cap hit has counted against the Bruins’ salary cap this season. His trade to the Islanders now would remove that number from the Boston payroll.
The Bruins can now apply Thomas’s pro-rated cap hit toward trade acquisitions.
“It doesn’t mean we’ll go out and get somebody now because we have cap space,” Chiarelli said during a conference call. “But if there are good deals that come early, you have to be in the ballgame. We’re in the ballgame now. That was the proactive approach that we wanted to take here.”
Thomas played in 378 regular-season games for the Bruins and led them to the Stanley Cup championship in 2011. He had a 196-121-45 record in the regular season and was 29-21 in the postseason.