“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.”
This is what Joe Thornton told the media after Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline came and went and he wasn’t moved. As the day grew nearer, there was more and more buzz Thornton was willing to accept a trade to a contender. Prior to that, there was doubt he’d ever want to leave San Jose.
The Sharks are out of it. Dealing with a rash of injuries and playing some extremely poor hockey, Thornton had finally talked himself into moving on. At least, if the cards fell the right way, he was willing to.
Perhaps it wasn’t that simple.
Thornton would only have moved to a contending team. The problem was, Pierre LeBrun of TSN notes, there weren’t many contenders interested.
There was interest in Thornton yesterday, from 3-4 teams, but I don’t think they were the elite Cup contending teams he would have waived for. Which is to say, I don’t believe Boston, Vegas or Colorado inquired with San Jose.
Kurz added that Thornton was more disappointed than he was angry.
“Yeah, obviously I was willing to go somewhere, and try to win my first Stanley Cup,” Thornton said, per Kevin Kurz of The Athletic . “I’ve been dreaming about that ever since I can remember and it just didn’t come to fruition, for whatever reason. I wanted to get something back for the Sharks obviously to help them continue this process with young guys. It just didn’t work out.”
What about other teams? What about Tampa, Edmonton, Washington or other teams who clearly felt they had a shot this year, adding to their rosters on Monday? There were teams like Dallas and St. Louis out there too and one would think, if the price wasn’t high, they’d have had some interest, no?
We may never know. All we’ll know for sure is, should Thornton play another year, re-sign with the Sharks and they be in this situation again, he won’t wait to let the team know he’s willing to do. Perhaps he looks at other teams this summer in free agency? Who’d have thought that would ever happen?
Thornton has skated in 1,628 regular-season games throughout his NHL career, amassing 417 goals and 1,088 assists. He’s also played in 179 playoff contests, reaching the Stanley Cup Final once in 2016. Someone will be interested.
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