Joe Thornton of the San Jose Sharks proved this past season that despite being 34 years old (turns 35 on July 2), he still has a lot of hockey left in him.
According to a report by Mike Zeisberger of the Toronto Sun, the Toronto Maple Leafs are one of six teams interested in acquiring Thornton’s services.
The other five teams in question were not revealed.
Thornton, drafted first overall by the Boston Bruins in the 1997 NHL draft, has 1,194 points in 1,207 regular season games over his career. He’s a six-time NHL All-Star, as well as the recipient of both the Art Ross and Hart Memorial trophies in 2005-06. He became the first player in league history to win both awards while switching teams (Bruins to Sharks) during the season.
In 2013-14, Thornton finished second in the NHL in assists with 65, which was three behind Sidney Crosby (68) of the Pittsburgh Penguins. His 76 total points (11 goals and 65 assists) placed him 13th in the league.
He signed a three-year extension worth $20.25 million with the Sharks on Jan. 24. It includes a no-movement clause, which Thornton may be willing to waive to end up with the Leafs. Thornton was born in St. Thomas, ON, so the Leafs must present him with some sentimental value at the very least.
In his 17-year career, Thornton has never won a Stanley Cup. As Zeisberger points out, the Leafs have endured quite the drought of their own, having not won a championship since 1967.
It would seem like a match made in heaven with Thornton and the Leafs organization, if a deal were to come to fruition that is.