San Jose Sharks: Joe Thornton leaves open trade possibility

San Jose Sharks, Joe Thornton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
San Jose Sharks, Joe Thornton (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The San Jose Sharks could be open to trading veteran Joe Thornton prior to Monday’s deadline and the 40-year-old hasn’t shut the door on the possibility either.

Joe Thornton has had quite the storied career in the NHL, but the San Jose Sharks legend has yet to reach the pinnacle of hockey success. He’s never won a Stanley Cup — and his time is running out.

Thornton has been with the Sharks since the 2005-06 season when he was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins. And despite the franchise’s overwhelming success during his time in San Jose, they’ve never been able to win the big one.

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And unfortunately, it doesn’t appear as though it will be happening this season.

The Sharks are just 26-30-4 and sit in third-to-last place in the Western Conference. They’re not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, but it isn’t looking good.

And at age 40, Thornton’s chances at a Stanley Cup victory are growing slimmer by the season. While it would be an incredible storybook ending to have Thornton and the Sharks finally win it all together, it might not be a realistic possibility.

For that reason, the idea of trading Thornton — who will be a free agent in the summer — is a very plausible scenario. And the 22-year veteran hasn’t exactly shut the door on that possibility.

Thornton had the following to say about the possibility of being traded to a contender before Monday.

"“There’s lots of possibilities. That could be an option. There’s lots to play with. It is what it is, and we’ll see what happens. I’m a Shark now, and I love being a Shark.”"

Of course, Joe Thornton has a complete no-trade clause that would need to be waived. But as Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reports, “it’s believed that general manager Doug Wilson would move him if that’s what he wanted.”

It makes sense that Wilson would want to do what’s right by Thornton, and it also would make sense for the Sharks to get something in return for their veteran leader given that he will be a free agent at the end of the season.

Thornton has been playing an increased role since Logan Couture and Tomas Hertl went down with injuries and he’s done an admirable job totaling 25 points in 60 games this season.

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He could be a valuable asset for a contending team making a late-season playoff push. And if we’re being realistic here, it would likely be his best chance at finally securing his elusive Stanley Cup victory.

If need be, the Sharks could always look to bring Thornton back next season provided he decides to play another year. And if recent indications are anything to go off of, he still believes he has plenty left in the tank.

It’s not ideal and it’s not the fairy-tale ending most would have wanted, but trading Thornton to a contender is likely in the best interest for both parties.

Thornton would be given his best chance at a Stanley Cup while the San Jose Sharks would recoup assets for a player who they could very well bring back again next season.

It’s a win-win, even if it doesn’t feel like it.

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The coming days should be very interesting for San Jose Sharks fans. But don’t be shocked if Joe Thornton is playing for a new team this Tuesday.