This article will be another in my series of player profiles, where I’ll look at each player on the San Jose Sharks and assess how their season went. This piece will focus on Joe Thornton.
Thornton’s ice time has dropped considerably in the last two seasons, down to 15:30 per game now from the 18-19 minutes per game that he consistently averaged from 2012 to 2018. That said, at 41 years old, it’s still impressive how effective he’s been for the Sharks.
While Thornton may not be the player he was five years ago and his production was also down this year, he’s still a really solid depth forward. This season, he had seven goals and 31 points in 70 games this year, a pace of eight goals and 36 points per 82 games. His advanced stats were also still quite solid, with a corsi for percentage of 52.9 per cent, which ranked fourth amongst Sharks forwards who played at least 15 games this season. He also had a respectable expected goals for percentage of 50.7 per cent (according to NaturalStatTrick.com).
I still think Thornton should have been dealt to a contender at the deadline for assets and in a poll I did a few months ago, 93 per cent of readers agreed that trading him would have been the right move. As for whether or not he returns next season remains to be seen and considering it seemed like he was open to being dealt to a contender at the deadline, maybe he decides to sign with a team who he thinks may have a better shot at making a Cup run.
If he is back in San Jose, he’d add cheap depth again, likely on a one-year deal. Thornton has been a staple on the team for the last 15 years and hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him in a Sharks jersey.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you think Joe Thornton will be back with the Sharks next season?