Toronto Maple Leafs Rumours: Could Joe Thornton Be Heading North?

Joe Thornton (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images)
Joe Thornton (Photo by Brandon Magnus/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Toronto Maple Leafs are looking to put together their playoff roster. The latest rumours include Joe Thornton, but could it really happen?

The latest NHL rumour being floated is that the Toronto Maple Leafs may be making a jersey for the future Hall of Famer, Joe Thornton, to wear to finish the season.

The basis of getting Jumbo Joe to leave the Bay Area is to give him the Ray Bourque treatment. Thornton has had an incredible career. He has won a Hart Trophy, an Art Ross Trophy and has been named to four All-Star teams.

The award that has eluded him through his 22 years in the NHL is the Stanley Cup. The time is right for Thornton to leave the San Jose Sharks in favour of latching on with a contender, possibly the Maple Leafs.

TSN has recently added Thornton to their trade bait list, where he ranks 15th. That ranking, however, doesn’t appear to be overly scientific as it has Leafs forwards Andrea Johnsson listed at 19 and Kasperi Kapanen in the following slot.

Thornton is now 40 years old and set to become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end after his one-year $2 million contract expires. If this is his final season, he may want to take one last shot at winning a cup. Conversely, if Thornton would prefer to finish his career with the Sharks, the decision is his. His contract includes a no-move clause. Sharks GM Doug Wilson would need to get his center’s approval to complete any transaction.

Kevin Kurz of The Athletic was the first to float the idea of Jumbo joining the Buds. He explained that the link has been in place since 2017 when Thornton nearly joined his friend Patrick Marleau in the Big Smoke.

Thornton also grew up as a fan of the Toronto Maple Leafs in nearby St. Thomas, Ontario, which has people believing that joining the team would be extra special to him similar to the way it was for John Tavares.

Does It Make Sense for the Toronto Maple Leafs?

In order to get a deal done, it would mean that the Leafs would need to trade someone off their current roster. This is because the team is still up against the cap and would have to move money out to fit Jumbo’s AAV.

Using the established odds of each Leafs player of being traded we can determine that Johnsson, Kapanen, or Ceci would be the most likely chosen to be shipped to California. While the Sharks might like either Johnsson or Kapanen, they’d certainly need prospect(s) and/or pick(s) to accompany Ceci to make the trade palatable.

While the Leafs might shock fans at the trade deadline it likely won’t be because they’ve acquired Thornton. He isn’t the sort of player that they need at this time.

Their main focus should be on upgrading the blueline after they addressed their goaltending problems by trading for Jack Campbell.

Thornton does have two goals and 22 assists in 55 games while averaging 15:11 minutes of ice time this season.

dark. Next. An Unexpected Twist to Cody Ceci's Injury

No matter what happens with Thornton before Feb. 24th’s deadline, he will remain one of the most loved players in the NHL. It would be nice to see him raise Lord Stanley’s mug above his head this year, but only if he does so with the Toronto Maple Leafs.