|The Bruins may be the next team to ship a goalie, namely Tim Thomas. (QMI Agency/Tony Caldwell)
Next up on the NHL's goaltending carousel?
Tim Thomas, come on down.
The Bruins goaltender likely isn't long for Beantown after the Montreal Canadiens traded playoff hero Jaroslav Halak to the St. Louis Blues for two prospects on Thursday.
Indications are Boston GM Peter Chiarelli is looking to deal Thomas and his $5-million (all terms US) cap hit before July 1 to free up money. Thomas, who lost his job to Tuukka Rask last season, had a 17-18-8 record and 2.56 goals-against average.
As teams gather for the draft in Los Angeles next week, expect Thomas to be at the top of the most wanted list for GMs seeking help in goal.
The Blues were looking at the 36-year-old Thomas before acquiring Halak. It's believed Philadelphia, Washington, San Jose and Tampa Bay are all still looking for goaltending. However, the market for netminders promises to be strong with the likes of Marty Turco (Dallas), Dan Ellis (Nashville), Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose) and Martin Biron (Islanders) poised to hit free agency.
Thomas, who has another three years left on his contract, likely won't be kept by a Bruins club that currently has more than $50 million committed to salaries for next season and is desperate to free up cap space. The Bruins tried to deal Thomas midway through last season, but couldn't find any takers.
GMs were stunned that Montreal's Pierre Gauthier moved Halak before Carey Price, for forwards Lars Eller and Ian Schultz -- especially 10 days before the draft -- but the trade did help clear up a muddled picture.
The sense is Sharks GM Doug Wilson could be the most active in pursuit of a net-minder. The talk in league circles is the club is undecided on what to do with Nabokov, given San Jose's recent string of strong regular seasons followed by playoff busts.
The Lightning is also strong possibility to go after a goalie. The Bolts made a pitch for Price, but the Habs wanted to get younger (Halak is 25; Price is 22) and Gauthier had no intention of keeping Halak.
Capitals GM George McPhee, meanwhile, is wondering what goaltending direction he should take after the Presidents' Trophy winners were eliminated in the first round by Halak and the Habs. McPhee would have to move money to take on Thomas, however.
SEMIN UP FOR GRABS
Sources say the Caps have offered winger Alexander Semin all around the league. He has one year at $6 million left on his contract, and is a looming unrestricted free agent after next season.
Nobody is sure what Semin might fetch, although there's a belief the Caps will want two high-end prospects and a pick. Semin had 40 goals and 84 points in 73 games last season.
"It wouldn't surprise me if they moved Semin," a league executive said Friday. "They need to make that lineup a little harder to play against and that guy is up and down."
Newly-hired Florida GM Dale Tallon is also being aggressive in trying to make moves. The club has been offering around forwards Nathan Horton, Rostislav Olesz and Radek Dvorak and defenceman Keith Ballard.