NHL

Joe Thornton, Maple Leafs have mutual free company curiosity

Report: Thornton, Leafs have ‘mutual curiosity’ in free company initially appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Cease me should you’ve heard this earlier than: One of many longest-tenured gamers in Sharks historical past reportedly might depart San Jose in free company to signal with the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Taking one look outdoors and seeing individuals stroll round in masks will remind you it is October of 2020 moderately than July of 2017, however the Leafs as soon as once more reportedly are pursuing a Sharks franchise legend to bolster their ahead depth. Joe Thornton and Toronto have “some mutual interest,” The Athletic’s James Mirtle reported Tuesday.

The Leafs pursued Thornton when he was a free agent in 2017, however he re-signed with the Sharks on a one-year contract. Patrick Marleau, who re-signed with the Sharks on Tuesday, signed a three-year, $20 million take care of Toronto that offseason.

Thornton, 41, has been with the Sharks ever since, scoring 31 factors in 70 video games final season. This offseason seems to be the closest he has come to leaving San Jose since 2017, after the veteran center expressed disappointment he wasn’t dealt to a contender on the commerce deadline in February. Thornton is getting into his 23rd NHL season, and he does not have many runs at an elusive Stanley Cup left.

The Leafs, regardless of being eradicated in a play-in collection by the Columbus Blue Jackets this postseason, are a lot nearer to competition to the Sharks, who completed final within the Pacific Division and Western Convention final season. With a younger core led by Auston Matthews and a few good additions this offseason, Toronto is pushing for a Cup in a manner San Jose is not.

RELATED: What Vegas signing Pietrangelo means for Sharks, rivalry

Nonetheless coaching with Swiss staff HC Davos, Thornton is listening to provides, in keeping with Mirtle. Mirtle speculated that the Leafs might signal Thornton to a contract price as much as $1.5 million, providing him a third-line function with the prospect to play on the ability play alongside Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Thornton advised The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun he’ll come back to play next season, however that he is in no rush to signal with a staff. The Leafs’ reported curiosity ought to give him loads to consider.

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