The agent for goaltender Manny Fernandez today confirmed what TheBruinsBlog.net learned from a source over the weekend — the Boston Bruins have decided to not pursue a new contract with the veteran puck-stopper.
“They’ve moved on and they want to go with a younger goaltender,” said Gilles Lupien, Fernandez’s representative.
Boston is obviously committed to going with Tim Thomas, who signed a new extension this spring, and top prospect Tuukka Rask as its goaltender tandem this coming season. Fernandez will now wait until after he becomes an unrestricted free agent July 1 to find a new home.
Fernandez had said during the second half of his inconsistent 2008-09 season that he would consider retiring if he couldn’t guarantee he’d be able to play healthy going forward. A back injury, coming on the heels of his return from knee surgery, pushed Fernandez to the sidelines for the better part of a month. But Lupien said Fernandez feels fine and that he is not going to retire.
“For a while there, he was hurt and frustrated that he wasn’t playing, so he said he was going to retire,” Lupien said.
According to Lupien, Fernandez — who went 16-8-3 with a 2.59 goals-against average — would still like to be a No. 1 goaltender. But that, obviously, is not the netminder’s decision. He will weigh the offers as they come in after July 1, and if he has to go somewhere as a No. 2 he’d be willing.
Lupien also confirmed that Fernandez will not be in Las Vegas this week to pick up the Jennings Trophy with Thomas. The two goaltenders earned the award by allowing the fewest goals during the regular season.