Thomas is set to sit/By S. Bradley

Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli today confirmed the TSN/ESPN report that goaltender Tim Thomas is seriously considering sitting out next season. If Thomas doesn’t play, his $5 million cap hit would still count against the Bruins.

“Tim came to me toward the beginning, middle of May, through his agent [Bill Zito], and has said that he is seriously considering taking the year off,” Chiarelli said during a conference call. “And I think the reasons are why, I’m not exactly sure. But he did give some reasons regarding the family, which obviously I respect, [him wanting to] spend more time with his family. So as of right now I’m operating on the premise that there’s a strong possibility that he’ll be taking the year off and we’d have to go about our business without Tim Thomas for the year.”

Without Thomas, the Bruins plan to go with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin as their two NHL goaltenders. Michael Hutchinson and recently signed netminder Adam Morrison and Niklas Svedberg would round out the depth chart at Providence (AHL). Chiarelli confirmed that Svedberg is expected to come to North America this season.

If Thomas sits out, the Bruins can let his deal expire after the 2012-13 season or welcome him back at the same salary and cap hit for the 2013-14 season. The Bruins also have the option of waiving or trading Thomas, who has a no-trade clause that expires July 1.

For more on the Thomas situation, read my report.