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Thomas to join Panthers on ice Tuesday

by Staff /

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon told reporters Monday that goaltender Tim Thomas will be on the ice for training camp Tuesday after joining the team on a professional tryout.

The 39-year-old goaltender passed his physical Monday.

"He's a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner," Tallon told reporters. "We need goaltending. We need somebody to help us get to where we need to get to. Right now it's Tim Thomas. He's going to get an opportunity."

Thomas, 39, was named the League's top goalie in 2009 and 2011. He backstopped the Boston Bruins to the 2011 Stanley Cup, and along the way became the second goalie in NHL history to win the Vezina, Conn Smythe Trophy and Stanley Cup in the same season.

Thomas did not play last season; in 2011-12 he went 35-19-1 with five shutouts, a 2.36 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

Tallon, though, said he wasn't worried that Thomas would be rusty.

"He's in good shape," Tallon said. "He's eager to go. He worked extremely hard all year, mentally and psychically. He's very strong and he's ready to compete for a starting position here."

With Scott Clemmensen sidelined by a knee injury, Jacob Markstrom currently is the only goalie in training camp with any NHL experience. The 23-year-old has played 31 games, including 23 last season.

Tallon said training camp and preseason games will determine who gets playing time.

"He and Markstrom and Clemmensen will battle for the position," Tallon said. "And whoever wins the position will be the starter. ... He [Thomas] really wants to play and he really wants to lead and he really wants to be the starter and he wants to win and he wants to win now. I was very impressed with him. I liked everything he had to say, I liked his approach. ... We strive to get better every day and a good Tim Thomas will make us better."

Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell told the Miami Herald he was excited at the thought of Thomas joining the team.

"No one works harder than he does," said 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."
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