Tim Thomas seemed to be enjoying his time with the Florida Panthers this season, and according to the man who traded him to the Dallas Stars at Wednesday’s trade deadline, the 38-year-old goaltender wasn’t thrilled about the move.
“It’s strictly business,” Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told Harvey Fialkov of the Florida Sun Sentinel. “We have to win games. …I don’t blame (Thomas) for being upset. He’ll go and play very well as he often does. This is the direction we’re going in.”
Thomas became expendable when the Panthers pulled off a stunning three-player trade with the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday that brought veteran goalie Roberto Luongo back to Florida. It was unlikely that the Panthers would keep Thomas and Luongo on the roster and risk a goalie controversy developing.
Thomas’ move to Dallas should be a positive one for his career. He’s gone from one of the worst teams in the NHL (Florida has the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference) to one that is currently occupying a wild-card playoff spot in the West and hungry to end its five-year postseason drought.
Dallas’ starting goalie Kari Lehtonen has played well this season, but he has just two games of Stanley Cup playoff experience, which is 48 less than Thomas. If the Stars begin to slide in the standings over the next two weeks, don’t be surprised if Thomas takes over the starting job for the remainder of the playoff race. This franchise needs a playoff run to energize its fanbase.