New York • Veteran goalie Tim Thomas, who has said he won't play this season, was traded by the Boston Bruins to the New York Islanders on Thursday for a conditional second-round draft choice either next year or in 2015.
Thomas chose to take this season off following the NHL lockout and was suspended by the Bruins after he didn't report to training camp last month. The 38-year-old goalie is in the final season of a four-year deal that counts for $5 million against the salary cap.
The Islanders have plenty of room to fit Thomas' salary on their cap, and this deal provides financial flexibility for the Bruins. Boston was up against the upper salary limit of $70.2 million, with Thomas' salary factored in, and New York is only marginally above the minimum payroll of $44 million.
"We felt this would give us flexibility immediately. It was us being proactive," Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said on a conference call. "I've had discussions on and off with the Islanders regarding this for a while. I don't really want to get into details. I think I've made it known publicly this was something we would like to try to do at some point."
NHL teams must be in full compliance of the salary cap by Friday, the 20th day of the league season.
Thomas is unlikely to play for the Islanders this season or in the future. New York already has veteran goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro on its active roster.
Thomas' absence has created an opportunity for Tuukka Rask to lead the talented Bruins in net, and he's delivered. Rask is 6-1-1 with a 1.97 goals-against average for Boston, the top team in the Eastern Conference as play began on Thursday.
Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL's top goalie, has played in 378 regular-season games all with the Bruins. He has gone 196-121-45 with a 2.48 GAA and 31 shutouts. Thomas ranks fourth on Boston's career wins list and third in shutouts.