The National Hockey League's trade deadline for the 2019 - 2020 NHL regular season is rapidly approaching and that means the rumors and speculation around the league are running wild. While much of the attention will be on the top commodities expected to move prior to the deadline, players like New York Ranger Chris Kreider and Ottawa Senator Jean Gabriel Pageau, there are also a number of veteran players that could be on the move sooner rather than later.
Among those players is veteran San Jose Sharks forward Joe Thornton, an aging center that will likely be looking at his last chance to add a Stanley Cup Championship to his resume. Thornton will not be one of those hot commodities given the struggles he has experienced this season but that does not mean that there will be a lack of teams that come calling for a veteran player with tons of playoff experience under his belt. Thornton remains a solid center and for teams looking to add depth up the middle he could prove to be an excellent addition especially for those teams that miss out on some of the bigger names this time around. The issue with Thornton however is that he controls his own destiny and that will likely have a drastic impact on where he is traded, or if he is traded at all.
So where could Thornton land ahead of the deadline? Well according to a recent report from Colorado Avalanche insider Adrian Dater, it now appears as though there are just 5 teams on Thornton's shortlist, with those teams being the aforementioned Avalanche, the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Dallas Stars, the Tampa Bay Lightning, and perhaps most intriguing of all Thornton's former team the Boston Bruins. Thornton has a full no movement clause which means that, based on Dater's sources, these are likely the only teams that even have a chance of acquiring the veteran forward for a run at the Stanley Cup.
It will remain to be seen what a team that does pull the trigger on a deal for Thornton will be getting however, as I mentioned earlier the proud forward has struggled this season. Although the Sharks have been bad as a whole, Thornton's production has fallen off a cliff with just 2 goals and 23 assists for a combined 25 points over 60 games played this season and he currently boasts an ugly plus minus rating of -14 on the season. When you compare that to his numbers from last season, 16 goals and 35 assists for 51 points in 73 games and a plus minus rating of +8, it does look like his form has taken something of a slump.