Unrestricted free agent goaltender Tim Thomas has accepted a professional tryout contract with the Florida Panthers, manager Dale Tallon said on Monday afternoon as reported by George Richards of The Miami Herald.
Tallon stated that Thomas will report to the team on Tuesday morning and will travel with the club to Texas for their exhibition game against the Dallas Stars on Wednesday night. It remains to be seen whether Thomas will play in that game.
Thomas was extended an invitation to training camp after it was determined that Panthers backup goalie Scott Clemmensen would miss time due to a minor surgical procedure. It was previously reported that Thomas was only interested in a starting position in the NHL. Coming into this season, many projected that 23-year-old Jacob Markstrom would act as the club's No. 1 goalie.
However, Markstrom could be sent to the American Hockey League without the use of waivers, which might be a course of action the team pursues if they want to keep both Clemmensen and Thomas. Of course, such a measure is something to consider after Thomas displays whether he can still handle NHL competition.
The goaltender decided to sit out the entirety of the 2013 season in order to focus on his life outside of hockey. While the might have provided Thomas a chance to prioritize the things that matter most to him, it also might have negatively impacted his ability to do his job.
Of course, Thomas was a late bloomer at the NHL level and saw the majority of his success at the end of his career. This includes two Vezina trophies, a Conn Smythe and a Stanley Cup.
Florida is hoping he can regain some of that form.