Joe Thornton has seen a lot in his 19 NHL seasons. His best days are behind him, but he could still be effective for the Rangers in the short-term.
This year’s free agent pool isn’t very center rich. Thornton could be signed to a short deal and work as a replacement until the Rangers can find a better center.
Thornton has the experience to back up his case as a top center. He has never won a Stanley Cup, but that in turn drives his thirst to get there. He played these playoffs with a torn ACL, if you need any convincing.
Thornton had 50 points this season to top it off. He will be 38 next year, but he has shown that he is still talented enough to be productive and lead a team.
He makes the Rangers older, which isn’t the direction the Rangers are trying to go in, but he adds an element of experience not many players can.