San Jose Sharks – Joe Thornton
Joe Thornton is going to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, and it’s likely that his time in San Jose has come to an end. Thornton’s tenure with the Sharks featured a short run as the team’s captain, as well as a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.
Thornton is a living legend, having appeared in 1,446 games with the Boston Bruins and San Jose Sharks. In those games, Thornton scored 384 goals and 1,007 assists, totaling 1,391 points. That’s good for 23rd all-time in the NHL.
Thornton has shown that his age can catch up with him, even with a career full of achievements. Thornton, who turns 38 this summer, scored only 7 goals and 43 assists for 50 points. It was his lowest producing full season since 1998-1999 when he had 41 points as a 19-year-old.
The Rangers are going to need an extra center this offseason, one way or another. Mika Zibanejad is safe, but Oscar Lindberg has come up in expansion talks, and Derek Stepan and Kevin Hayes could see themselves on the move this offseason. As a top-six forward, Thornton can still produce.
The best way to acquire Thornton is to simply wait for free agency, but they could trade for his rights before free agency and try to sign him. That way, the Rangers can get a reasonable deal for Thornton, and then can sign them on their own terms. The Rangers would likely only need to give up a draft pick, especially if San Jose has no intention of re-signing Thornton for themselves.
Joe Thornton’s long and storied career could simply end if the Sharks don’t re-sign him, but he still holds a good amount of value. Thornton would be a fantastic addition to the Rangers, especially for a low price.