- Pierre LeBrun, NHL
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Tim Thomas might be playing elsewhere next season, or he might not be playing at all.
A source told ESPN.com on Thursday that the 38-year-old Boston Bruins netminder was contemplating taking next season off. Which doesn’t mean he will, but it’s something he’s apparently raised.
Thomas has one year left on his contract that pays him $3 million, although his cap hit is $5 million. His no-trade clause lifts July 1.
The Bruins have a No. 1 goalie in waiting in Tuukka Rask, so they’d be open to trade offers, especially after a controversy-filled season sparked by Thomas’ decision not to attend the Cup champions’ visit to the White House.
Calls about Staal
I believe the plan for the Penguins is to try to extend both Staal and Sidney Crosby once they’re allowed to begin talks the first week of July -- both players are one year from unrestricted free agency. If the Penguins can pull it off -- get both signed -- I think they’re fine keeping the big three together (Evgeni Malkin has two more years on his deal).
But should the Penguins hit a snag in contract talks, it might make them rethink their stance on the big three, notably Staal.
Parise might just stay -- or go west
So much speculation about Zach Parise’s future, and it certainly might still include New Jersey.
But should the top UFA forward of the 2012 class decide to explore the market, one team to keep an eye on is the team he’s trying to beat right now in the Stanley Cup finals.
Most people think the Los Angeles Kings can’t go after Parise after they splurged in acquiring Jeff Carter’s big contract, but what I’m hearing is that the Kings still believe they can take a run at the highly coveted Devils captain if he hits free agency.
Where's Alfie going?
"I’ve left it up to Daniel to let me know when he wants," Senators GM Bryan Murray told ESPN.com on Thursday. "I assume he’ll let me know before the draft, but I don’t know that for sure. I certainly hope he comes back, that’s for sure."
Two goalies I believe are on the radar for the Toronto Maple Leafs in their quest to upgrade their goaltending are veteran UFA-to-be Tomas Vokoun and young Nashville backup Anders Lindback (RFA on July 1).
And what of the Tampa Bay Lightning? I believe they spoke to Los Angeles last season about young Kings backup Jonathan Bernier, although it didn’t get very far. I think Bernier would love to go to Tampa if given the chance this summer. With Vezina Trophy nominee Jonathan Quick the man in L.A. for years to come, Bernier has to move on to become a No. 1 goalie. Mind you, with one year left at $1.25 million, would the Kings prefer to wait another year before they move him? Food for thought.
Now what for Wings?
Lost somewhat in the enormous news of Nicklas Lidstrom’s retirement and the Wings’ likely pursuit of UFA-to-be Ryan Suter, is that Brad Stuart is also likely out the door in Detroit. It’s believed he wants to move back to California for family reasons. So there’s two of your top three blueliners gone in Detroit.
16hScott Burnside and Craig Custance