Tim Thomas to attempt NHL return

Former Conn Smythe Trophy winner Tim Thomas is looking to make his return to the NHL next season following a year of self-imposed absence from the league.

Thomas' agent, Bill Zito, announced his client's intentions via his Twitter account Monday afternoon.

"Tim Thomas has asked me to explore possible options for next season. We'll have no further comment at this time. Thanks," Zito tweeted.

Judging from the announcement, the 39-year-old Thomas appears to be ready to hit the market as an unrestricted free agent on July 5, which means the New York Islanders have chosen not to toll his contract for next season.

The Islanders acquired the controversial goaltender this season in a trade with the Boston Bruins -- a move largely believed to be a beneficial salary-cap transaction for both teams -- though Thomas refused to report to New York and was subsequently suspended by the team.

Neither Islanders officials nor Zito could be immediately reached for comment.

Thomas, a two-time Vezina Trophy winner, announced last summer that he would not play in 2012-13 and instead planned on spending more time with his family.

The decision came after Thomas' notorious White House snub last year, when he elected not to join the 2011 Stanley Cup champion Bruins for their trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with President Barack Obama.

Thomas has not commented on his future since being traded to the Islanders. Though he is believed to be living with his family in Colorado, it is not immediately known whether Thomas has been training or preparing for his potential comeback.

Assuming he does test the market, Thomas will join other pending unrestricted free agent goaltenders, such as Evgeni Nabokov, Ray Emery and Ilya Bryzgalov, whose contract was bought out by the Philadelphia Flyers.

Given Philadelphia's desire to acquire a goaltender, Thomas may be on the Flyers' immediate radar. Multiple reports have also indicated that the Flyers have interest in Nabokov, who is not expected to re-sign with the Islanders.

Thomas recorded 35 or more wins in three of the past four seasons he played. He was 35-19-1 in 2011-12 for the Bruins with a .920 save percentage and a 2.36 goal against average.