The Boston Bruins confirmed on Friday that goaltender Tim Thomas is seriously considering taking next season off from hockey to spend more time with his family.
"Tim came to me toward the beginning of May through his agent," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli explained to reporters on a conference call. "And said he is seriously considering taking year off."
TSN Hockey Insider Pierre LeBrun reported on Thursday that Thomas was considering not playing next season. If he does sit out, his $5 million hit will count against the Bruins' salary cap next season.
"I'm approaching this season as if Tim Thomas won't be playing next year," added Chiarelli. "There's a strong chance he'll be taking the year off."
Thomas, who won the Stanley Cup, Conn Smythe Trophy and his second Vezina Trophy last season, was at the centre of controversy this past winter when he opted not to appear at the Bruins' White House visit hosted by U.S. president Barack Obama.
Thomas later explained his actions on his Facebook page and cancelled any media scrums if a question was asked regarding the incident.
"We'd have to deal (the loss of Thomas for the season) and we will," said Chiarelli. "I'd be more than satisfied with Tuukka (Rask) and (Anton) Khudobin as our goaltenders."
Thomas's no-trade clause on his contract expires on July 1 and will cost any interested team $5 million against the salary cap, prompting speculation that the Bruins might trade the 38-year-old veteran.
"He's a world class goalie," added Chiarelli. "He'd help somebody in a big way if he decided to play."