A day after announcing that he would suit up for HC Davos in Switzerland during the “offseason”, Joe Thornton signed another one year contract in the NHL - and for the first time, it wasn’t with the San Jose Sharks. The former Sharks captain has signed a one year, $700k contract to play next season with the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Growing up in the Greater Toronto Area, Thornton is the latest veteran to take sign a contract to return home, joining Jason Spezza and Wayne Simmonds in an attempt to bolster a young lineup.
After bring selected 1st overall by the Boston Bruins all the way back in 1997, Thornton was traded to San Jose 15 years ago. Since then, he has turned into a legend for that fanbase and the most significant player in franchise history.
Scrolling through Twitter Friday night, it was easy to see just how much Thornton meant to his former team:
Man I’m going to miss ya, but feel very fortunate to play with you and become great friends. So many fun memories in a short period of time. I’ll make sure to keep your seat next to me at the back of the plane vacant until you come back. pic.twitter.com/i2sJdY23nr— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) October 16, 2020
Mentor, line mate, friend and all of the above. Going to miss having him around the locker room. They don’t make them like him anymore! You got a good one @MapleLeafs. Good luck in Blue Jumbo! pic.twitter.com/gyDlWqRMNe— Kevin Labanc (@Str8ToTheBanc) October 16, 2020
For more than two decades, Jumbo and I have been friends, with the vast majority of those years being teammates, too. I now consider him a brother. Toronto has gained a tremendous influence, and we will miss his presence here in San Jose. Good luck in TO! -PM pic.twitter.com/pE09ZLjllz— Christina Marleau (@c_marleau) October 17, 2020
Thornton is the NHL’s active leader in assists (1,089) and points (1,509).
Now I guess we’ll see an old man wrestling match between Thornton and Jason Spezza over who gets to wear number 19 in Toronto next season.
Here’s a brief but interesting look at Avs 3rd round draft pick Jean-Luc Foudy:
Third round @Avalanche 2020 #NHLDraft selection Jean-Luc Foudy (@jlfouds) has appreciated the instructional approach and effective communication style of @SpitsHockey head coach Trevor Letowski on his #OHL development journey.#MeetTheFuture | @KubotaCanadaLtd pic.twitter.com/aiBzR8dsaI— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) October 17, 2020
Next season is a big one for hockey in Colorado. It will be the 25th season since the Avalanche came to Denver. There has been a lot of speculation that as a tribute to their history, the Avs will finally have a Quebec Nordiques-themed alternate jersey next season. Now, Nathan MacKinnon has poured fuel on that fire with his latest Instagram post:
Before the season starts, Joe Sakic has a little more work to do when to comes to finalizing his roster for next season as Devon Toews and Tyson Jost are still restricted free agents. Toews is due to have an arbitration hearing on Halloween but it is believed the Avalanche are going to work out a deal before it comes to that. What’s the holdup? Well, Sakic traded for Toews two days after his wedding, so he’s been on the honeymoon since becoming a member of the Avalanche. Expect a deal for the 26-year old defender sometime in the next two weeks.
Along with Toews, Sakic’s other big acquisition was Brandon Saad. For those unfamiliar with him as a player - or those who just want to revel in what an amazing player the Avalanche traded for - our own Adrian Hernandez has put together a little video to get you excited:
Around the NHL
A little over a week after being drafted, Quinton Byfield has signed his entry level contract with the Los Angeles Kings. Selected second overall, Byfield made history becoming the highest drafted black player in the history of the NHL entry draft, passing Evander Kane and Seth Jones, who both went fourth overall in 2009 and 2013, respectively.
Byfield’s ELC comes a couple days after first overall selection Alexis Lafreniere signed his with the New York Rangers.
Speaking of second overall draft picks, Nolan Patrick has signed his qualifying offer with the Philadelphia Flyers. The 22-year-old missed the entire 2019-20 season and playoffs with a migraine disorder.