Tim Thomas, who signed a four-year, $20 million extension with the Bruins yesterday, will be considered on over-35 contract even though he doesn't turn 35 until April 15. For contract purposes, the player's age is calculated on the June 30 before the season the deal goes into effect.
I unfortunately didn't get much of a chance to weigh in on Thomas's new deal, but I'm glad I waited until this bit of information was clarified. That the contract is guaranteed as a cap hit, regardless of whether or not he gets injured, retires or is abducted by aliens, has to at least be somewhat of a concern for Bruins fans.
The percentage of goalies who play at a high level at 38 and 39 years old is incredibly slim. There are only three older than 36 who have seen NHL action this season — Cujo, Dwayne Roloson and Olaf Kolzig — and only Roloson has played at a decently high level. Thomas is also already the third-oldest netminder to play 40 games this season, and the 10th oldest overall.
That's not taking anything away from Thomas. He is a great guy and has had a phenomenal, Vezina-calibre season, but the risk involved on a four-year deal on an over-35 contract is sky high. What's a bargain now could very well be an albatross in 2011-12.
Never mind 2012-13.