Joe Thornton is back in San Jose…but not necessarily with the San Jose Sharks.
“It looks like Joe Thornton and his family have moved back to San Jose while he figures out his next chapter,” Corey Masisak tweeted on Friday. “He’s been spotted at Sharks Ice a few times this month skating [with] SJS players, hanging out [with] SJS brass and at a Jr. Sharks practice.”
Masisak added: “Reached out to someone with the Sharks about Joe Thornton: He has no official role with the organization at this time.”
San Jose Hockey Now reached out to a source who corroborated that.
Reached out to someone with the Sharks about Joe Thornton: He has no official role with the organization at this time. (2/2)
— Corey Masisak (@cmasisak22) September 9, 2022
It’s another twist in the will-he-or-won’t-he retire saga, which has been the theme of Thornton’s last few off-seasons.
Thornton, the first-overall pick of the 1997 NHL Draft, just completed his 24th NHL season with the Florida Panthers. A frequent healthy scratch, Jumbo notched just 10 points in 34 games and suited up for just one playoff contest.
Regardless of how it might end, it’s been a sure-fire Hall of Fame career for Thornton, who’s accumulated 1,539 points since his NHL debut on Oct. 8, 1997. Thornton scored 1,055 of those points with the San Jose Sharks.
It’s believed that Thornton is still trying to hook on with a team for his 25th NHL campaign. It’s PTO season, and while it might seem improper for a legend of Jumbo’s stature to agree to a tryout, well, it might be where the 43-year-old is at if he wants to continue his playing career at the highest level in hockey.
Anyway, there would be no shortage of offers for Thornton if he chose to step away from playing: There are unconfirmed reports that he’s already agreed to be the Spengler Cup’s Head of Sports on retirement. I would imagine the San Jose Sharks could find a spot for him too, if Thornton wanted to be a part of the organization in some way.
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