Tim Thomas has been in the spotlight recently once again, but not for any controversy off the ice. Thomas has been practicing with the Florida Panthers during their training camp on a PTO (Professional Try Out), attempting to make a comeback to the NHL. Thursday that comeback became a reality when the Florida Panthers announced they have signed two-time Vezina Trophy winner Thomas to a one year contract.
The Panthers goaltending was anything but stellar last season, giving up a league high in goals. With backup goaltender Scott Clemmensen undergoing a knee procedure weeks ago, Florida was looking into the season with only one goaltender with any NHL experience in Jacob Markstrom. With Clemmensen expected to be sent to the AHL (San Antonio Rampage) for a two-week conditioning stint after returning from injury, they needed some insurance in goal. This also gives them more options once Clemmensen is back to full health. They can either place him on waivers and send him back to the AHL; or offer him up in a trade to a team such as the Pittsburgh Penguins, who recently sidelined backup Tomas Vokoun to blood clot issues. Markstrom is also on a two-way deal this season, which means he could return to the AHL, until his one-way status kicks in next season.
In any case, Thomas is a big upgrade in the Panthers’ goal and is looking to prove he still has something left in the tank. Could he help the Panthers return to the playoffs after a horrible season in 2013? We won’t know until the season is underway, as Florida still has some questions on defense. But in any case, with new ownership set to take the reins after a press conference Friday morning, Panthers fans can finally start to look up.