Bruins GM explored trading Tim Thomas

BOSTON -- Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli admitted Friday morning that he had explored the possibility of trading goalie Tim Thomas last offseason but never got close to pulling the trigger on a deal.

Chiarelli said he had an agreement with Thomas and the goalie's agent, Bill Zito, to explore trade options even though the goalie said he didn't want to leave Boston. Thomas has a no-trade clause as part of a deal that will take him through the 2012-13 season.

"That's really where it ended," Chiarelli said. "There were some calls and I kept him in the loop at all times. He kept stressing he didn't want to leave. I said, 'I know. Let's just look at his options very briefly.' I know there were a lot of stories that flowed from it, but I can't stress enough the fact that Tim never wanted to leave.

"I wouldn't be doing my job if I at least didn't look at some things, and I did. You go through those things, on a number of fronts on a number of players. You just field stuff, you look at them and you talk to other teams. And at the end of the day you make the decision yay or nay, and here it was nay. It was an easy nay."

At the time, of course, Thomas wasn't the Conn Smythe winner and Vezina frontrunner he is now after leading the Bruins to the Stanley Cup. A year ago, Thomas' future was in question due to his age (36 at the time) and the fact that he had undergone hip surgery to repair a torn labrum. He had also been replaced by Tuukka Rask as the Bruins' starting goaltender.

Despite that, other teams around the league still had an interest in acquiring Thomas. Rumors of teams being interested in trading for him made the rounds last offseason, but nothing came of any of them.

Joe McDonald covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.