It's been a looooong offseason for San Jose Sharks veteran Joe Thornton.
The 2019-20 season ended quite unceremoniously for Thornton and the Sharks when the NHL suspended play on March 13th. The Sharks, of course, didn't qualify for the NHL's Return to Play in July and as a result, they've had their offseason stretch out over six months at this point. With so much uncertainty regarding the 2020-21 NHL season, Thornton has decided to fly to Switzerland to train with HC Davos of the Swiss National League (NL).
Thornton is uncertain whether or not he'll play for Davos at this point, at least according to Sharks insider Kevin Kurz of The Athletic.
Check it out:
Thornton, of course, has a long history with Davos having played for the team during the 2005 NHL lockout and the 2012 NHL lockout. Thornton met his now wife Tabea Pfendsack while playing for Davos in 2005. The couple and their children spend their offseasons in Tabea's native Switzerland and Thornton has said himself that they have considered moving to the country when his NHL career is finally over.
The good news is though that Jumbo Joe doesn't plan on retiring from the NHL just yet. The big man is still reportedly hoping to sign a one year contract with the Sharks for the 2020-21 season, but at this point wouldn't you rather see him chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere? The Sharks had a historically bad season in 2019-20, but is there reason to believe that they'll be better in 2020-21? Frankly, they don't like much of a Stanley Cup contender and I think Thornton would be better served by testing the free agent market and signing elsewhere.
Thornton has been linked to his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs every offseason for the past five years it seems. He could certainly be a fit there, especially if the Leafs elect not to bring back veteran centreman Jason Spezza. Who knows? Maybe we even see Jumbo Joe back with his former Boston Bruins? Thornton, of course, was the Bruins' captain before he was dumped by the team midway through the 2005-06 season. Thornton went on the win the Art Ross and the Hart Trophy that season and would go on to establish himself as one of the most dominant players of his generation with the Sharks.