Welcome to the first of a new feature we’re calling “Let’s NHL Trade Talk”. The idea behind the feature is to suggest a trade and then debate the merits of whether or not it’s realistic NHL trade and/or a good idea.
We’ll look at the player, the team’s status, the standings, contracts, returns and other factors when talking about each trade and we’ll open it up to debate. We’re hoping you find this a fun and harmless activity that allows fans to make arguments for and against.
The first entry in our series will feature a player two Edmonton-based media members started discussing on TSN 1260 on Wednesday — Joe Thornton.
Why Talk About a Joe Thornton Trade?
Both Jason Gregor and Jason Strudwick brought up the idea of Thornton moving on from San Jose because the team is in a spot that’s completely unfamiliar to them. 26th in the NHL standings, the Sharks suffered a crippling loss the other night, essentially giving away the game in the final minutes and struggling in a way that’s somewhat indicative of their season to date.
Meanwhile, Thornton has one goal and only 18 points in 45 games this season. He’s on the last legs of his NHL career and offers some attributes another team might find useful as a depth center. His contract is affordable at $2 million and he brings leadership, skill and an expiring contract that makes him an ideal rental for a team that could use experience and emotion inside their dressing room during a postseason run.
What Is Thornton Worth?
Assuming Thornton would even agree to leave San Jose, (he has a no-move clause), the fact he could choose his destination affects his trade value tremendously.
Thornton has played for only the San Jose Sharks since coming over from the Boston Bruins in 2005 but he’s yet to win a Stanley Cup with a Sharks team that always seems to be in the conversation. Now that the Sharks seemed destined to be out of it, could there be a team or two that he’d consider playing for just to get that one last kick at the can?
There are a few teams that might express interest if Thorton officially hits the trade market: Edmonton, Tampa Bay, Boston, Pittsburgh, Calgary and the Colorado Avalanche, who might be among the favorites.
The return wouldn’t have to be high but any team expressing interest would need to have a decent chances of winning it all. That potentially takes half of those teams out the equation.
What Would You Do With Thornton?
If you’re the San Jose Sharks, do you keep Thornton a Shark until he retires? Do you ask him if he wants an opportunity to win elsewhere? Do you see if there’s a market for him?
If you’re the Sharks, who would you pick up the phone and call? If you’re Thornton, what are you thinking about this season? And, if you’re another GM around the NHL that could use a third-line center who can offer assistance on a second-unit power play, is Thornton your guy?