Mar 22, 2013; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Maple Leafs right wing Colton Orr (28) fights Boston Bruins left wing Shawn Thornton (22) at the Air Canada Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

NHL Free Agency: Should The Toronto Maple Leafs Go After Shawn Thornton?


Could the Toronto Maple Leafs have a chance to land a player that has been a thorn in their side for so long?

The Boston Bruins have told Shawn Thornton that he will not be returning to the team when he becomes an unrestricted free agent in July 1. That means that 29 other teams will have the chance to sign one of the better fourth-liners in the NHL.

Thornton may be getting up there in age, but he has continued to be of value to the Bruins for the last few seasons and that shouldn’t change now. The only reason there letting him go seem to be cap issues.

So, what about the Maple Leafs? Back in 1997, it was the Leafs that drafted Thornton in the seventh round(190th overall). He never played a game for the Leafs bouncing around the AHL for years. He also played for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks, where he won a Stanley Cup, before landing in Boston.

Could the Leafs be in need of Thornton’s services now? Even though they will be giving multiple young players a chance to make the lineup, spots on the fourth line might be better-suited to veterans. Another thing to ask, who would rather have on the fourth line? Thornton or one of Colton Orr or Frazer McLaren?

Would you like to see the Leafs target Thornton this July?

Tags: Featured NHL Free Agency Shawn Thornton Toronto Maple Leafs

  • Peter Wong

    Absolutely they should not. And that is why Dave Nonis will sign him ASAP.

  • Andrew

    Absolutely they should. He is very difficult to play against and can play hockey. He is very good at getting under the skin of the opposition and is defensively responsible. In the last minute of a game you can throw him out there with Bolland and count on him. Tough guys who can actually play (sorry Colton) are hard to come by. He’d be a great acquisition.

    • Tim Bayer

      That’s the thing: he can’t play. His career is over as far as I’m concerned.

      • Andrew

        Whether you take a chance or not depends on cost. If you can get him for cheap, he’s worth a shot. He sure as hell would be a lot more effective than Colton Orr or Frazier McClaren.

    • Sixto1

      I agree Thornton better than Orr and McLaren. On Boston, with their talent, he is a very suitable 4th line player.
      However, with Bolland, will Leafs sign him? If Bolland signed, should he play on 4th line with Thornton? I see Bolland as more suited for 2nd or 3rd line minutes. He has much more offensive upside. It was Chicago’s depth up the middle that forced Bolland to play on 3rd line there, not his lack of talent.

      • Andrew

        I wouldn’t normally play them on the same line, but lines get thrown out the window in the last minute of the game. And, if you have a face-off in your own end of the ice, all I am saying is that I would be comfortable throwing Thornton out there with Bolland et al.

  • A13276

    Can’t keep up – Colton Orr is faster and that’s the truth! Isn’t it time to graduate a few Marlies now that we finally have a drafting and development system in place – I mean really! Look at the big picture! The reason we had an Orr or MacLaren was because of the Bruins with their Thornton’s and Lucic’s. Lucic looked pretty slow against the Habs. The less skill you have the better you have to skate so we want guys that can skate on that 4th line for sure and if you have size even better. Ashton who is big and can skate should be on that 4th line before spending money on Thornton.

  • marty mar

    Fuck No!

  • joe skal

    No they have Orr,Mclaren and i think they just got Brad Stabitz