Thomas Trade Creates 'Flexibility'
B's trade Tim Thomas to New York Islanders for conditional second round pick
"It's something that helps us create some flexibility on our cap," Chiarelli told BostonBruins.com on Thursday following the announcement. "First and foremost, Tim was, obviously, a huge part of our team and said that in all likelihood he wasn't going to play this year, so he became an asset. Both an asset and a liability."
"We were able to trade him and it gives us some flexibility as far as acquiring players, as far as signing some players this year," added the Bruins' GM.
"As far as pushing any liability on the bonus cushion, when you're over on a bonus cushion, it can eat against your cap going forward. So, administratively, it helps us in a lot of ways and we're able to do it and are in a better position as a result."
The 2012-13 season had marked the final year of Thomas' four-year contract with the B's worth an annual NHL cap figure of $5,000,000. Back on June 22, 2012, when Bruins brass was at the NHL Draft in Pittsburgh, Chiarelli announced that Thomas had given him "a complete waiver of the no-trade clause," adding, "So at the very least, he's being cooperative in that sense if we decide to trade him."
At that time in June, Chiarelli said "more than a couple" teams had inquired about Thomas so that they could make the salary cap floor and a couple of squads had asked if he was coming back.
"Earlier on, there was a lot of interest in Tim, preliminary interest," Chiarelli told media on a conference call Thursday night following the trade, commenting that when teams were interested, he proceeded to talk to Thomas' agent heading into the fall and the work stoppage.
"When the floor came out, where it came out, there wasn’t as much interest," said Chiarelli. "But there were some teams that still made their calls that were looking to sure up their goaltending. "
"I think I’ve made it known publicly that this is something that we would like to try and do at some point and then throw some back side protection into it with a draft pick," he added.
"I don’t want to speak for [Islanders GM] Garth [Snow], I know they see him as an asset. If he plays, it gives them some cap flexibility. We’ve had discussions over the past couple of months."
In the trade, the B's acquired a conditional second round selection in either the 2014 or 2015 NHL Draft.
"Without getting into specifics, the condition is basically 'if he plays'," Chiarelli told media. "There’s a bunch of different ways to couch how he plays or where he plays, when he plays, if he plays."
"It’s this season and next is where the picks are attached to, so you never know," he clarified towards the end of the call, regarding the condition of Thomas playing.
"I spoke with Tim to make him aware of this trade and he understood, he knew that this was the type of thing that I had talked to him about earlier on in the summer and in the fall, that this could happen," said Chiarelli. "He was comfortable with it and he sounded quite at peace with himself."
"I wanted to be in a position where if something comes along now…I wanted to be in a position that we would be in the ball game," the GM told media on the flexibility the move affords the B's heading forward in the season and into next year. "And we’ve got a good team and that doesn’t mean that we’re going to go out and get someone because we have this cap space right now."
"But sometimes in my experience, there are good deals that come early and you have to be in the ball game and we’re in the ball game now. That was kind of the proactive approach that we wanted to take there."