G Thomas to practice with Panthers Tuesday

The SportsXchange

Florida Panthers general manager Dale Tallon said on Monday that goaltender Tim Thomas will participate in practice on Tuesday after joining the team for a professional tryout.

Thomas, 39, passed his physical Monday, but he has not played since the 2011-2012 season.

"He's a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, a Conn Smythe Trophy winner," Tallon said. "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 was named the League's top goalie in 2009 and 2011, and he won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the postseason in 2011 when he helped the Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup.

Thomas decided not to play last season after going 35-19-1 with a 2.36 goals-against average for the Bruins in 2011-2012. He made it known during the offseason he was interested in returning this season.

"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."

Scott Clemmensen is sidelined by a knee injury, leaving Jacob Markstrom as the only goalie in the Panthers' training camp with NHL experience.

Markstrom, 23, played in 23 games last season, going 8-14 with a 3.22 goals-against average.

"[Thomas] 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."
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