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[Rumor] Joe Thornton to the Maple Leafs Next Season an Option

Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman believes that Joe Thornton to the Toronto Maple Leafs next season could be a rumor that has legs.

This from Elliotte Friedman in his latest 31 Thoughts article on Wednesday, “If Thornton is not sold on the Sharks, and he’s willing to seek out new life (boldly go where no one has gone before), my prediction is Toronto will be a factor.”

This comes after quotes from Thornton that he was disappointed that he and the Sharks couldn’t make something else work at the NHL Trade Deadline. Thornton told reporters, “It would have been nice to at least have a chance.”

A player who was never figured to have a desire to play anywhere other than San Jose, Thornton said, “I wanted a shot, you know? Believe it or not. I’ve been hunting this thing down for 22 years, so I wanted another shot at it…. Back to the grind, and that’s how it is.”

The Sharks tried to move Thornton. But, reports are that not a lot of competitive teams came calling. Friedman notes one of the teams rumored, Boston, wasn’t all that interested. Neither was Dallas. One team that was, at least at one time, was Toronto.

Related: Jay Bouwmeester Done For Season, Isn’t Ruling Out Comeback

What’s Next for Thornton?

A free agent at the end of the season, Friedman says it will take a lot of Thornton looking at the Sharks organization to see if he thinks they can compete next season — something Sharks GM Doug Wilson made clear he believed the team could do.

If Thornton thinks so, he will likely stay. If not, he’ll need to start looking around.

Joe Thornton - San Jose Sharks

Thornton certainly has talent. But, as he gets older and slower, the amount of teams that will take a shot and try to figure out how to work him from the start of the season may be limited.

Friedman noted he believes the Maple Leafs considered adding him at the deadline. But, after losing badly to Carolina, GM Kyle Dubas re-thought adding short-term fixes. The Leafs also weren’t sure if giving up assets when they might not be able to get through Boston or Tampa had them concerned. In short, Dubas wanted his team to work their own way out of the hole they’ve dug.

Next season is a new season and with it will come a different approach.

Friedman also noted salary won’t be an issue. Thornton’s made it clear he will make his salary fit, wherever that ends up being. That’s important for a team like the Maple Leafs where every penny counts.

Finally, Friedman believes the Maple Leafs would value Thornton’s experience and professionalism. From being effectively stripped of his captaincy in San Jose but bouncing back to his playoff experience, he’s the kind of mentor young players could use in the locker room, especially when the going gets tough.

Related: NHL To Re-examine Emergency Goaltender Procedures

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  1. Pingback: Oilers Failed to Land Patrick Marleau Twice, Athanasiou Injury Update – NHL Trade Talk – Hockey Trades and Rumors

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