Tim Thomas signs with Florida Panthers

James Lang-US PRESSWIRE

The veteran goaltender will play for the first time since 2012.

The Florida Panthers have signed veteran goaltender Tim Thomas to a one-year deal, the team announced on Thursday.

Thomas last played in April 2012, electing to sit out the entire 2012-13 season following a playoff loss to the Washington Capitals. Those close to him believed the nine-year NHL veteran burned out on the game, prompting his absence. Thomas was traded to the New York Islanders in early 2013, but chose not to report to his new team, becoming a free agent.

The 39-year-old spent time with the Panthers in training camp last week, prompting the belief he would sign with Florida and attempt to make a return to hockey.

Florida was in dire need of goaltending help following a 2012-13 season where the team finished 15-27-6. Veteran Jose Theodore, Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen all split time in net, but nobody stood out -- allowing 171 goals on the year.

It has been a busy week for the Panthers organization, which is expected to introduce new owner Vinny Viola. The new team owner is 57 years old, only 18 years senior to his new goaltender.

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