The Leafs add the 41 year old center after 15 years in San Jose
Joe Thornton will join the Toronto Maple Leafs for the 2020-21 season after 15 years in San Jose. He will likely slot in as their third line center. So what does he really bring to Toronto? Is he going to be one of the pieces that leads them to a Cup?
With San Jose not making the bubble, Thornton went to play with HC Davos in Switzerland. He recorded 11 points in 12 games. He was HC Davos' fourth leading scorer. He was 25th in the league in points, and Davos finished third to last.
I get that these weren't the most important games to him, but you'd think that a solid NHL player would put up better numbers than that. I just find it hard to believe that someone who can't keep up a point per game pace in Switzerland is going to be one of the pieces to put the Leafs over the top.
When Thornton faces some of the other tough third lines in the league, is he going to be able to keep up? Last year in San Jose he could not. He had just 31 points in 70 games, and had a -19 plus/minus. He's 41 years old, and getting slower by the minute. His points will only continue to decline even being a free wheeling Leafs team.
He won't contribute on the penalty kill, and maybe he'll center the second powerplay. He's a big guy at 6'4" 220 lbs, but in no way does he play a physical game. Besides a veteran presence, I just don't see much that he adds to this Toronto signing.
Personally, I just don't love the signing by Toronto. I get that they want a responsible player who brings experience, but this isn't the type of move that puts them over the top or anything like that. It's only a one year deal though so it's not like they committed a ton to him. His $700,000 contract represents about what he can do on the ice.