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Noesen to Return, Thornton to Toronto, Bergmann to Mannheim?



Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks
Credit: Dinur (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Stefan Noesen was one of the few bright spots for the San Jose Sharks last year.

Plucked off the waiver wire, the pending UFA provided “Hakuna Matata”, a handful of goals, and a consistently good quote on way to becoming a fan favorite.

San Jose Hockey Now has learned from a source that the Sharks and Noesen indeed share a mutual interest to negotiate a new contract, confirming The Athletic’s report from earlier today. However, with this season far from over and free agency about two months away, a lot can change.

Thornton to Toronto?

Meanwhile, Elliotte Friedman is beating the Joe Thornton to Toronto drum once again.

From yesterday’s 31 Thoughts:

“It may depend on what happens with Spezza, because I don’t know if you can have both of them, but I think Joe Thornton will be on Toronto’s radar, too. Not the first time I’ve predicted it, but someday I might actually be right.”

If you recall, Friedman also wrote extensively about Thornton and the Maple Leafs after February’s Trade Deadline.

While it’s widely assumed that Thornton, after a sojourn in Switzerland, will return to the San Jose Sharks for his 23rd season next year, there are many reasons to connect the dots between the pending UFA and the Leafs.

First, Thornton was crest-fallen that he wasn’t moved at the Trade Deadline to a contender. While his love for the Sharks can’t be disputed, that left no doubt Jumbo wants a Stanley Cup.

So who’s closer to the Cup, the league’s 29th-best team or the young, talented Leafs? If Doug Wilson wants Thornton back, he might have to sell the future Hall of Famer on a quick turnaround.

Of course, Thornton could start next season in teal and re-evaluate near the Trade Deadline. But he might run into the same problem that contributed to him staying put at this year’s Deadline. From Friedman’s February column: “Thornton’s gifts — his intelligence and skill — are harder to translate at this time of year, but I do think there are teams who would be willing to make it work if he started the season with them.”

So what if Kyle Dubas made a hard pitch to Thornton on the first day of free agency this October? You would think that Jumbo would listen hard. That’s not even mentioning the fact that Thornton’s parents live just a couple hours away in St. Thomas, Ontario.

Now would Toronto want Thornton? This isn’t even the Jumbo from two years ago, who I argued was the best third-line center in the Western Conference.

I can tell you that a scout from a team still in the playoffs pushed hard for his GM to trade for Thornton at the Deadline but was shot down.

Said another scout: “I’d take him, but he’s close to done.”

All this is to say that there will surely be some lively discussions about Jumbo in front offices this summer. Whether that translates to Thornton leaving the Tank, we’ll see.

Bergmann to Adler Mannheim?

San Jose Hockey Now has confirmed rumors that San Jose Sharks prospect Lean Bergmann is skating with the Adler Mannheim Eagles.

The Eagles are Bergmann’s former DEL club.

The DEL season, however, isn’t scheduled to kick off until November 1st. With next season’s NHL training camp scheduled to begin in November, it’s hard to say if Bergmann will ever actually suit up for Adler Mannheim. The winger has yet to sign a contract with the Eagles; he has two years left in his entry-level deal with the Sharks.

If, however, the NHL 2020-21 season starts on time, and the AHL campaign does not, Adler Mannheim might prove to be a solid developmental back-up for Bergmann, if the 21-year-old forward fails to cement an NHL role.

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