Toronto Maple Leafs: Joe Thornton Is On the Move

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

A Jumbo sign that Toronto Maple Leafs training camp is imminent.

News broke this morning that the Toronto Maple Leafs have officially given Joe Thornton directions to make his way back to Canada. The 41-year-old center will mark his official arrival in Toronto following a mandated quarantine period, which will end just in time for the planned start of NHL training camps.

The veteran center comes to the Leafs after a tune-up stint with Davos HC of the Swiss league where he put up five goals and 11 points through 12 games. Prior to those games “Jumbo” hadn’t played a professional hockey game since March, when the 2019-20 season was initially shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Thornton had 31 points (seven goals) in his final, abbreviated season with the San Jose Sharks.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Joe Thornton

Thornton is one of many Toronto Maple Leafs players who will have arrived in the city well in advance of training camps. Highly-touted KHL defenseman Mikko Lehtonen terminated his contract with Jokerit three weeks ago and began the process of moving over to North America days after the contract was officially cut short. The other major KHL signee, Alexander Barabanov came across the Atlantic earlier this fall, after opting to not sign with any KHL or European league teams.

In addition to the previously mentioned players and locals to the Toronto area such as Mitch Marner, Jake Muzzin, and Wayne Simmonds, some other players that have been sighted at optional team skates at the Toronto Maple Leafs practice facilities include Frederik Andersen, Jack Campbell, Nick Robertson and Zach Bogosian.

The NHL is currently expected to officially announce the return of hockey on Wednesday, December 16th. A 56-game season with temporary division realignment (including an All-Canadian division) that will see the Stanley Cup awarded by no later than mid-July is on the cards and though we’re all disappointed at the prospect of not getting a “full” season, it’s truly better than nothing.

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Training camps are expected to open by January 3rd, at which time we’ll likely get our first look at Jumbo Joe in the blue and white.