Maple Leafs sign 41-year-old Joe Thornton

By Anthony Caruso III | Publisher

The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed veteran free agent Joe Thornton. The center has signed a one-year deal for the upcoming 2020-21 season.

The 41-year-old will reportedly make $700,000 for the season. It’ll be his 23rd season in the NHL.

Former San Jose Sharks center Joe Thornton waits for a face-off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Six of the Western Conference First-Round of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Joe Thornton waits for a face-off against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game Six of the Western Conference First-Round of the 2019 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs (Getty Images)

By adding Thornton, the Maple Leafs add a veteran, who will compete for the third or fourth center role. Presently, according to Cap Friendly, Thornton is projected to lead the fourth line, while Alexander Kerfoot is projected to be the team’s third line center.

Cap Friendly is projecting that Thornton will lead a line that will include 37-year-old former center-turned-right winger Jason Spezza and left winger Alexander Barabanov.

This will be Thornton’s third NHL season. He previously played for the Boston Bruins and the San Jose Sharks.

Thornton was the Bruins No. 1 overall pick in the 1997 NHL Draft. He has been playing in the league since the 1997-98 season when he made his debut with the Bruins.

Also, with the signing of Thornton, the Maple Leafs now have three No. 1 overall picks on their roster.

With this move, Thornton is able to go home to play. He has represented Canada many times in his Hall of Fame career.

Thornton won a gold medal with Canada in 2010 in the Olympics. He also captured two World Cup gold medals in 2004 and 2016, while representing his beloved land.

He has played in 1,636 career games, including 70 games with the Sharks this past season. Thornton has scored 420 goals and has had 1,089 assists for 1,509 points.

This past season — his final campaign with the Sharks — he has seven goals and 24 assists for 31 points.

In addition, he has had 31 goals and 102 assists for 133 points in 179 playoff games.

Thornton is a six-time All-Star. He also won the Art Ross Trophy and Hart Memorial Trophy in 2006.

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