One of the most interesting names to watch going into the trade deadline was Joe Thornton , who had rumors swirling around him for weeks during the San Jose Sharks’ losing season. The idea of Thornton going to a contender — perhaps even the Boston Bruins — had fans around the hockey world salivating. Thornton is one of the best players in the history of the NHL without a Stanley Cup championship, with more than 1,600 games played and 1,500 points.
Unfortunately, the deadline came and went without a new address for the future Hall of Fame center. The 40-year-old will finish the year with the Sharks, adding games and points onto his resume but no more playoff appearances. That obviously disappointed Thornton, who told Kevin Kurz of The Athletic just as much:
"As you get older you realize you only have so many shots at this thing, and it would have been nice to have a chance. … I wanted a shot. I’ve been hunting this thing down for 22 years."
Thornton’s longtime teammate, Patrick Marleau, another NHL icon without a championship to his name, got a chance to chase one when he was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins. But it didn’t happen for Thornton. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that there was interest in the veteran center from three or four teams, but not the real “elite Cup contending teams” that Thornton would have waived his no-movement clause for. LeBrun clarifies, by saying that he doesn’t believe the Bruins, Vegas Golden Knights or Colorado Avalanche showed any interest.
Thornton is currently on a one-year deal with the Sharks, the third such contract he has signed with the team. This time he only carries a $2M cap hit, though, making him much easier to fit into a team’s finances.
Still, it’s hard to know exactly what you would be getting. Thornton has just four goals on the season in 62 games, and while his assist totals are still strong — 23 on the year — there might just not be enough left to really intrigue those top teams.