For the first time since November 2005, 41-year-old forward Joe Thornton will have an NHL home that isn’t the San Jose Sharks.
The Toronto Maple Leafs announced on Friday that they’ve signed the longtime NHL veteran to a one-year contract worth $700,000. The London, Ontario native won’t immediately report to the team, however, as he’s currently with Switzerland club HC Davos as he, and others, wait for official word on the start of the upcoming NHL season held amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Thornton possesses a Swiss passport and met his wife while playing in Switzerland with HC Davos during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. He also spent time with that club in 2012-13.
Thornton recorded seven goals and 24 assists for 31 points in 70 games with San Jose before the NHL halted the 2019-20 season on March 12 because of the health crisis. San Jose finished last in the Western Conference standings and didn’t qualify for the campaign’s resumption held within bubble sites in Canada.
According to Hockey-Reference, the six-time All-Star is the leader among active players in points with 1,509 points. Across 1,636 career regular-season games, he’s tallied 420 goals and 1,089 assists.
The NHL has yet to set a start date for next season, but, as Greg Wyshynski reported for ESPN, Vegas Golden Knights owner Bill Foley recently said during an appearance on KSHP’s “Vegas Hockey Hotline” that he thinks games for a shortened campaign might not get underway until February.