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TIM THOMAS TO PANTHERS: Florida Nets Veteran Goalie, Will Join Team on Tuesday

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The Panthers landed one of the biggest names in goaltending on Monday as Tim Thomas agreed to come to camp on a tryout basis.

Thomas, honored as the league's top goalie in 2009 and '11, will join the Panthers for Tuesday's practice at the Saveology.com Iceplex in Coral Springs on a professional tryout.

The 39-year-old led Boston to the Stanley Cup championship in 2011 and was named MVP of the playoffs that spring.

"No one works harder than he does,'' said Florida defenseman Brian Campbell, who played with Thomas in Finland during the 2004-05 lockout season.

"I enjoyed my time playing with Tim. He's a great goalie, a great battler and a great person. Him coming here is a bonus for us. We feel we have two strong goaltenders here but if you can add a piece like this, it's not going to hurt you.''

Thomas made headlines in 2012 when he refused to join his teammates at the White House, citing differences of opinion with President Barack Obama. Thomas' play slipped a bit after that as rumors of him not participating in the team event didn't sit well in the Boston locker room.

Thomas took last season off with the Bruins trading his contract to the New York Islanders. The Islanders used Thomas' $5 million cap hit to stay above the salary cap floor.

"I don't know why he didn't play last year,'' Campbell said. "Timmie has strong political views and I think that's great. I've learned a lot from him. You can ask him questions about things.

"Everyone has their opinions and that doesn't hurt anyone. The whole White House thing, well, maybe you would like him to go but he cares about his country. If that's his biggest fault, well, lets move past it. He strong views about everything not just politics.''

If Thomas earns a spot on the Panthers, Florida would have to find a place for Jacob Markstrom or Scott Clemmensen. Markstrom could stay up with the Panthers -- and even remain the starter.

If that's the case, Florida would try and trade Clemmensen or send him to the minor leagues. Clemmensen will be paid $1.2 million regardless of where he plays this season. Clemmensen is expected to miss the next couple of weeks after having minor knee surgery.

Comments

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Wow...this is the kind of low risk/high reward move that shrewd GM's dream of making. Just think of how motivated he'll be playing in the same division as Boston. I just hope he puts a good showing in camp.

I have no problem with this, as a fan.

Only reservation I have, is whether or not Tim can remain professional, and not be a distraction if he's not playing as much as he would like.

No problem whatsoever with Thomas skipping the White House. I wouldn't have sucked it up and gone, either. Question is, can he still play and will he sign at a price Florida can/will pay. I can almost guarantee that, at worst, he's still better than Clemmensen. That, despite not being used to the firesale in front of the net in Boston that he will probably face in Florida.

Fantastic move! I'm excited! Now I really will purchase the 3-game ticket plan!

Yes, fine move indeed. The Panthers are 3rd lowest in the league in terms of payroll. Cliff Viner can afford him (if he plays well and worthy of a short term contract, which I think he will be).

I will visit President Thomas when he is elected to the WH.

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