TheLeafsNation Top 25 of 2020: #11 —Could the Toronto Maple Leafs land Joe Thornton?

Welcome to the yearly wrap up of the top read articles over the last year!


But in early February, the answer was maybe. Amid tons of speculation, a rumour started floating around that the Leafs had interest in Thornton.

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I wrote about it, and it was the 11th most-read article this year.

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs land Joe Thornton?

The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz was one of the first to report the interest.

Here’s what he wrote:

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After Auston Matthews and John Tavares, Toronto’s third- and fourth-line centers lately have been Pierre Engvall and Frederik Gauthier. Engvall, a rookie, has managed 14 points (7g, 7a) in 30 games, so his career is off to a nice start, while the former first-round pick Gauthier has 10 points (6g, 4a) in 47 games as he’s bounced between the NHL and the AHL the past few seasons.

Thornton, of course, nearly ended up in Toronto when Marleau signed his contract there in the 2017 offseason. Perhaps he’d welcome the idea of putting on a Leafs sweater for a playoff run after growing up in nearby St. Thomas, Ontario. What might hurt the Leafs’ chances if they’re interested, though, is that they aren’t quite a lock to make the playoffs, in third place in the competitive Atlantic Division, six points behind second-place Tampa and now tied in points with the improving Florida Panthers. They’d also have to move money out to accommodate Thornton’s salary, as they are right up against the cap. Further, their top need could be defense as Morgan Rielly remains out with a foot injury.

And my brief thoughts, too:

As Kurz noted, the Leafs would have to look to move some kind of salary out in order to bring in Thornton and his $2-million salary.

Despite being 41 years old, ‘Jumbo’ has still been able to provide great offensive value for the Sharks this year scoring two goals and another 22 assists in 55 games. The 6’4″, 220lb. centre put up 16-25—51 in 73 games last year.

On Twitter: @zjlaing


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