Well, if there’s one positive result of Boston Bruins goaltender Tim Thomas being left off the All-Star ballot, it’s that we can now gauge the netminder’s popularity.

The NHL today released the latest Eastern Conference voting for the 2009 NHL All-Star Game and, just like last week, the Montreal Canadiens are on pace to be represented at all five starting positions. But way down there in fifth place among goaltenders is the Bruins’ Thomas with 52,606 votes — all of a write-in nature.

Not only does Thomas have more votes than ballot-dwellers Martin Brodeur, Tomas Vokoun and Vesa Toskala, he also has — by far — the most write-in votes of anyone at any position. The closest fellow write-in is Pittsburgh forward Jordan Staal at 13,068.

Surprisingly, Thomas’ popularity isn’t helping fellow write-in Bruins, as Milan Lucic and Phil Kessel have yet to reach 10,000 votes.

Bruins captain Zdeno Chara, who is on the ballot, is the highest-ranked non-Canadiens defenseman with 197,582 votes. At forward, Bruins Marc Savard and Patrice Bergeron place eighth and ninth, respectively.