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SJHN Daily: Thornton Not Sure About Coming Back, But That’s Nothing New



Credit: AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker

During the Florida Panthers’ exit interviews, former San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton commented that he has not yet made a decision regarding returning to the NHL next season, saying he first needs to speak with his family

Joe Thornton says no decision made on NHL, Florida Panthers future

However, this non-committal language is keeping in typical Joe Thornton practice, going back a few years.

The last time that Thornton committed to coming back next year in an exit interview was after the 2017-18 season.

“It’s no secret I’m a Shark,” he said in his 2018 exit interview. “I bleed teal and I want to come back and I know I’m going to be healthy when I come back. I’m sure we can figure something out, but I want to come back.”

But since then, Jumbo has been playing things closer to the chest.

In his 2019 exit interview with the Sharks, Thornton said: “I haven’t made any decision. I feel like I can still play, that’s for sure. I haven’t made any decision at all yet.”

Because of the pandemic, Thornton didn’t have a 2020 locker room cleanout interview, but his 2021 exit interview with the Toronto Maple Leafs had a similar message: “This came so sudden [being eliminated], I have not had time to think about it. I feel really good, but I have to take some time and be a dad.”

All of this goes to say that there’s no need to read into Thornton’s comment about having made no decision as anything but precisely what he said. It may be a smokescreen or perhaps he hasn’t decided.

Thornton was a frequent healthy scratch in his 24th NHL season, potting 10 points in 34 games and appearing in just one playoff game.


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