Thursday, June 29, 2017

{allcanada} Maple Leafs, Predators interested in Joe Thornton: report


The Toronto Maple Leafs and Nashville Predators each have expressed interest in signing San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton, TSN reported Thursday.

Thornton, 37, can become an unrestricted free agent July 1. He had 50 points (seven goals, 43 assists) in 79 regular-season games and two points (no goals, two assists) in four Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Sharks this season.

He played through a torn MCL and ACL in the postseason.

The Predators had their center depth stretched thin after Ryan Johansen sustained a season-ending thigh injury in Game 4 of the Western Conference Final against the Anaheim Ducks. Nashville won that series in six games despite losing Johansen, but went on to lose the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.

Thornton has played the past 12 seasons with the Sharks and is their all-time leader in assists (722). He had 82 points (19 goals, 63 assists) in 82 games two seasons ago before leading San Jose to its first Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016. He has 1,391 career points, tied with Brett Hull for 22nd on the all-time NHL scoring list.

Another longtime Sharks forward, Patrick Marleau, also can become an unrestricted free agent July 1.

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