Bruins have to consider trading Thomas/By S. Bradley

It’s a topic that’s sure to heat up as the Bruins’ offseason continues to unfold, despite what general manager Peter Chiarelli said at breakup day about his goaltending.

“I view it pretty much the same way I saw it going into the last summer, the biggest difference being Tuukka [Rask] obviously didn’t play towards the end because of his injury, so for me there’s no uncertainty there with regards to him being back and healthy,” Chiarelli said. “I know I’ve seen speculation about moving a goalie and all that stuff, but certainly I’m not inclined to do that. Tim [Thomas] didn’t have statistically the year he had before but I thought he had a very good year. We have, if not the best, one of the top three goalie tandems in the league.”

In front of that world-class goaltending, as we saw, the Bruins have an inconsistent offense that can be a juggernaut for weeks at a time and then sputter for months. Let’s face it, Braden Holtby didn’t morph into Ken Dryden as much as the Bruins morphed into a team not willing to pay the price to score goals without enough natural offensive talents.

Obviously Chiarelli isn’t going to tip his hand and risk offending one of his prized goaltenders. But going forward he has to entertain the idea of trading one of his netminders, probably the 38-year-old Thomas, who’s entering the last year of his contract. For more of my thoughts on this topic, check out my CBS Boston column.

For what it’s worth, both Rask and Thomas expressed no qualms about returning with the same situation next season. Rask is a restricted free agent in need of a new contract, so it’ll be interesting to see how that all pans out. However, it might not be fair to either goaltender to ask them to compete for the No. 1 job and risk sitting for all but 30 games next season if they get beat in the competition. Nor would it be fair to the rest of the Bruins’ lineup, to again be so deep in one position while other positions struggle.