Tim Thomas‘ return to the NHL will become official this week.
That’s according to TSN’s Darren Dreger, who reported Wednesday that the veteran goaltender is expected to sign with the Florida Panthers as soon as the team’s sale to New York businessman Vincent Voila is finalized.
The sale will ease the budget restrictions general manager Dale Tallon has been operating under and give the team the freedom to sign the 39-year-old.
Dreger expects Viola’s $250 million deal to purchase the franchise to by the end of the week, meaning Thomas could be in net when the Panthers host Tampa Bay on Thursday.
Thomas participated in Panthers training camp on a tryout basis, but he has not yet been allowed to suit up in a preseason game. The Florida staff has reportedly been impressed with his work ethic and quick reflexes despite the fact that he has been out of the game for 16 months.
If signed, Thomas will jockey for playing time with fellow veteran Scott Clemmensen and 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom. Clemmensen is currently sidelined with a knee injury, and Markstrom has just 29 NHL starts to his credit.
Thomas would not have to wait long for a meeting with his old team. The Panthers welcome the Bruins to Sunrise on Oct. 17.