Marty Turco Provided Relief for Tim Thomas Down the Stretch, But Likely Will Be Crowded Out of a Return To Bruins

Marty Turco Provided Relief for Tim Thomas Down the Stretch, But Likely Will Be Crowded Out of a Return To BruinsEditor's Note: The Bruins are facing a longer offseason than they had hoped after their title defense was ended early with a first-round loss to Washington. The extra time could come in handy though, as the Bruins have plenty of decisions to make this summer. At the top of that list is what they will do with the many pending free agents on their roster. Each day over the next two weeks, NESN.com Bruins beat writer Douglas Flynn will look at one of the club's veteran free agents.

Marty Turco's days in the NHL appeared over when he went unsigned last summer and ended up playing in Austria. But he got another crack at the big time late in the season when the Bruins signed him to fill the void behind Tim Thomas after Tuukka Rask went down with a groin/abdominal strain.

Turco didn't play a lot down the stretch and had some shaky moments, but he was able to give Thomas some relief in the final weeks of the regular season and may have rekindled some interest in his services elsewhere in the NHL. It's doubtful he'll get a chance to return to the Bruins though with Boston's depth in goal.

2011-12 stats: 5 games, 2-2-0, 3.68 GAA, .855 save percentage

2011-12 cap hit: $600,000 according to CapGeek.com

2012-13 status: Unrestricted free agent

Age: 36

Season in review: It was a strange season for Turco, as the three-time All-Star was unable to land a new gig in the NHL after one season in Chicago. Turco's best days appeared behind him, as the longtime Dallas standout had to head to Europe for employment, eventually signing with EC Red Bull Salzburg in the Austrian First Division.

Turco played just four regular-season games (2.64 GAA, .934 save percentage) and six playoff games (3.16 GAA, .911 save percentage) before getting a chance to return to the NHL with the Bruins when Rask was injured and Anton Khudobin was also sidelined with a wrist injury in Providence.

Turco's debut was promising with a solid showing in relief of Thomas against Pittsburgh on March 11 (20 saves on 22 shots in two periods), but his first start was a disaster as he allowed three goals in the first 4:31 in Tampa on March 13. It was nearly two weeks later before he got another chance, but he responded with an impressive showing in Anaheim on March 25 (25 saves on 27 shots for his first win as a Bruin). He also got the win against the Islanders on March 31 (19 saves on 22 shots), but allowed five goals on 27 shots in his final appearance against Pittsburgh on April 3. He was not eligible to play in the playoffs as he joined the team after the trade deadline, and did not remain with the club after the regular season concluded.

Should Turco be re-signed?: There's little need for Turco next year in Boston with the Bruins already featuring a logjam in goal. Thomas has one more year on his current deal and Rask is now healthy, having returned late in the opening round of the playoffs to dress as Thomas' backup. With Khudobin also showing promise in his lone start late in the season and on a one-way deal next season, the Bruins aren't in the market for any veteran help in goal at this point.

Will Turco be re-signed?: The Bruins appreciated Turco's help at a time of need late last year, but as mentioned above do not have room for Turco moving forward. Turco didn't rule out trying to continue his NHL career next season, and despite a couple shaky outings, his play in Boston may be enough to convince another team to give him a shot. If not, there's always the option of returning to Europe. Turco enjoyed his experience in Austria, and sounded like a man not ready to hang up the skates just yet when he told NESN.com late in the season, "I guess more than anything I just like playing."

In Turco's own words: "It's been tremendous, really," Turco said of his time in Boston after his final start on April 3. "I've been around for a bit [and] can't say that disappointments have been much a part of my time here. I've been fortunate to have an opportunity and I'm truly grateful, for my family and I, for what the Boston Bruins gave me when things seemed pretty bleak. … At the end of the day I'll continue to hold my head high like I have all year to be ready in this position and still want to play some. So, we'll see what happens."

Monday, May 21: Chris Kelly
Tuesday, May 22: Gregory Campbell
Wednesday, May 23: Daniel Paille
Thursday, May 24: Brian Rolston
Friday, May 25: Greg Zanon
Monday, May 28: Mike Mottau
Tuesday, May 29: Joe Corvo
Coming Thursday: Benoit Pouliot

Have a question for Douglas Flynn? Send it to him via Twitter at @douglasflynn or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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