Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said Friday that goaltender Tim Thomas agreed weeks ago to waive his no-movement clause -- potentially allowing the Boston Bruins to save a major salary-cap hit next season.
Meeting with reporters in Pittsburgh prior to Friday night's NHL Draft, Chiarelli said Thomas -- who announced earlier this month that he plans to take the 2012-13 season off to be with his family -- had waived the clause, making a deal possible. The no-movement clause runs until July 1.
Thomas' cap hit for 2012-13 is $5 million, though his actual salary is only $3 million. The 38-year-old is entering the final season of a four-year contract he signed after winning the first of his two Vezina Trophies in 2008-09.
"At the very least he's being cooperative in that sense," said Chiarelli, who added that several teams have contacted him about acquiring Thomas — including some that might have a difficult time reaching the salary-cap floor. A team could add Thomas to its roster, suspend him and thus take the cap hit without actually spending any money. Because Thomas signed his contract after he turned 35, the cap hit applies regardless of whether Thomas actually plays.
"I've had a couple of teams, more than a couple," Chiarelli said when asked if teams have inquired about Thomas. "I've had a category of teams that are inquiring about acquiring him for the cap floor. And I've had a category of teams who inquired about, is he coming back? If you look at it, that would be a $5 million cap hit that a team doesn't have to pay. So yes, on that basis, I think there would be interest. The thing is, there's no rush right now to get [cap-compliant] yet. There's no urgency. But if there was more than one team competing, I'd have to look at it."
Chiarelli said he still hasn't gotten a 100-percent statement from Thomas that he will not play next season, but admitted that "It's probably 95 percent."