Things are heating up. There is both chatter AND rumblings. It seems the Leafs really want Joe Thornton to be a Leaf, even if he did shave that magnificent beard.
To follow up on @mirtle's piece, my understanding is that both Kyle Dubas and Sheldon Keefe have talked to Joe Thornton about the Leafs' interest. So let's see where this goes. Feels like the Sharks or Leafs at this point. I do think Jumbo would be a terrific fit in Toronto. https://t.co/3jZwu8r4x8
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) October 14, 2020
That’s pretty interested.
“Hearing several core Maple Leafs have personally pitched Joe Thornton on going to Toronto. The courtship is on and the interest is real. But one thing I’ve always been told about the future Hall of Famer: do not underestimate his loyalty to San Jose.”- Elliotte Friedman’s 31 Thoughts
— Sportsnet 590 The FAN (@FAN590) October 14, 2020
Yep, there’s definitely a lot of interest and desire for Thornton to be a Leaf on Toronto’s side of things. What that looks like contract and role wise remains to be seen, but Toronto is certainly interested in bringing in another Soo Greyhound alumnus.
As for the Sharks, they still seem to be in regular contact with Thornton as well. Like Elliotte alluded to above, there’s a loyalty factor and moving on might not be an easy situation. It certainly seems that regular communication from Patrick Marleau and Doug Wilson is occurring as well, so it’s not just the Leafs exhausting Joe’s overseas data plan.
While bringing in Thornton would be fun and certainly improve the Leafs, this doesn’t seem to be a make or break deal for the team. Of course it’s also one of the last lingering free agency stories related to the Leafs so we’ll cling to it knowing that soon we’ll struggle to find topics to discuss related to the Leafs. For that purpose, maybe it’s best for Thornton to drag this out as long as possible, but if Kyle Dubas sticks to his free agency trend we’ll get a signing announcement around dinner time.
Here’s a bit more reading on how Thornton would fit in with the Leafs: